Faf du Plessis of Paarl Rocks chats to the media in Paarl yesterday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Proteas captain Faf du Plessis believes the timing of the Mzansi Super League could not be any better for it allows all the national players to “have some fun again”.

It has been a torrid past six months for the national team.

Under coach Ottis Gibson’s guidance, the Proteas floundered at the World Cup winning just three out of nine matches.

An interim restructure was put in place, with Enoch Nkwe now at the helm, but it did not yield a change a fortune.

There was brief respite with a drawn 1-1 result in the T20I series against India before Virat Kohli’s side put a young Proteas team to the sword during the Tests with a 3-0 cleansweep.

It was South Africa’s heaviest defeat since readmission, with two Tests being lost by an innings.

There’s little doubt that the psyche - not to mention confidence of the players - took a battering whilst in India, and with heavyweights such as world champions England and Australia visiting South African shores this summer, there needed to be an invention before the international season begun.

While many believe this period could have been used to prepare for the tasks ahead through first-class cricket, Du Plessis reckons the MSL is just the medicine required.

“It is enjoyable to come home and play some cricket where there is less pressure. This is has a different feel to it. It is a lot more relaxed and a lot more fun,” Du Plessis said at the Paarl Rocks media launch yesterday.

“I think it is very important. People probably don’t understand the burden you carry and when it doesn’t go according the way you would like. It weighs heavily on you.

“We are a very proud team and we want to win every game we play. So, when you go through a tough series like India was, and was always going to be, you feel the burden of that.

“I feel like all the national players can go back and chill, hit a few sixes, and realise again why you love playing the sport you play.”

Furthermore, Du Plessis was pleased to see the amount of “cricket intelligence” being ploughed into the MSL - both on and off the field.

Four of the six franchises have former Proteas as coaches with Ashwell Prince at the Cape Town Blitz, Mark Boucher (Tshwane Spartans), Gary Kirsten (Durban Heat), Eric Simons (Nelson Mandela Bay Giants), while the Blitz have also acquired the services of Hashim Amla as their batting consultant.

“It is really important. I mean it when I say it. It is important that we don’t lose them. We have to make sure that those guys don’t get lost,” Du Plessis said.

“They are greats of the game because it is important that we use their knowledge for the future stars of the game. We have such great minds in the game in South Africa.

“It is great to see Hash (Amla) taking that step.

“We must recognise the players that have come before. It is something that I will drive to get the ex-players involved again.”



Cape Argus

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