'Time to make SA cricket great again,' says Faf
PAARL – Without wanting to sound too much like United States President Donald Trump, but Proteas captain Faf du Plessis is hoping South African cricket can become "great" again.
Du Plessis has admitted that the recent travails have affected South African cricket negatively and the time has now arrived for a new beginning, particularly with England arriving in the country within the next week.
"There's too much negative stuff that's happened over the last four or five weeks and our cricket is too strong to have so many issues all the time," Du Plessis told the media after leading the Paarl Rocks to a home Mzansi Super League final.
"We are too proud a cricketing nation to be talking about this stuff all the time. The attention needs to be on the cricket and making sure we will build ourselves as a team and ourselves as an organisation to be great again."
Du Plessis is eager for the focus to return to the Proteas and getting everyone working together in order to help the team break a run of five consecutive Test defeats.
"There's not much time before the English series so now it's about putting our focus back on to the team, making sure that the Test team gets all the things that are required for us to be successful," Du Plessis said.
"It's been a little bit on pause the last two or three weeks which is already too late, so we need to make sure in the next week things will start unfolding to make sure the Test team gets the most attention. The last two weeks there hasn't been much attention on that so that is what we will try and drive over the next week."
The process has certainly begun to get Cricket SA back on track. Embattled chief executive Thabang Moroe was suspended over the past weekend, and replaced with Jacques Faul on an interim basis.
Former Test captain Graeme Smith is also set to be unveiled later this week as the new Director of Cricket.
Du Plessis believes Faul has the credentials to turn around the beleaguered organisation.
"Jacques is obviously a very experienced CEO, a doctor, so I am sure he is pretty clever," du Plessis said. "It's about experience; getting people in that can take this great game of ours on the right track again."
The skipper also stated that even if he needs to be a shield between the administrators and the Proteas team, he is prepared to do it in order to get the Test side functioning again.
"The players have got absolutely nothing to do with what's happening behind the scenes. It's important to separate that from a player point of view and if it needs me to be dealing with some of these things, then that's OK," he said.
"It's about getting focus on what's really important now which is a Test series against England. As I said before, it's already a little bit 99 [last-minute] and things haven't happened as they should have but now we can start getting things on the right track.