Faf du Plessis during Proteas practice in Manchester on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

MANCHESTER – Faf du Plessis is back at his old stomping ground, and the employees at Lancashire County Cricket Club are delighted to have him back.

The South African captain spent just under three years playing for Lancashire from 2008, and was on the books of two clubs in the Lancashire League – Todmorden and Ramsbottom.

Two years before that, he was also the overseas professional for Mansfield Hosiery Mills cricket club in the Nottinghamshire Leagues, but Lancashire is very much his second home.

“It’s good to see the weather is exactly the same as I left it,” he quipped.

“I’m very, very thankful for my time at Lancashire, I really enjoyed it. It played a big role in my journey to where I am today.”

Du Plessis had signed a Kolpak contract with Lancashire, and at one stage, there was even a thought that he might play for England.

He was then a very different player to what he is now; his fielding was (and still is) outstanding – he was described by then-Lancashire coach Mike Watkinson as being the best fielder in county cricket – his leg-spin bowling was a key feature of his game, and his batting was so-so.

Some good seasons in the last part of the ‘noughties’ for the Titans saw him considered as an option for the Proteas, and he got his first chance at international level before the 2011 Word Cup.

The rest is history, but Lancashire and this venerable old ground remains close to Du Plessis’ heart.

“It’s really good to see the people that’s still here, even the people that work way away from the game that still remember me and for some strange reason, I still remember them. It’s really good to be back. I’m really motivated to make a big play in the next five days.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo shares a word with Quinton de Kock at Old Trafford. Photo: Reuters

“The wicket has changed around, I remember batting with the sun shining into your eyes, and back in the day, the change-room has changed.

“We were here a couple of years ago for the one-dayers, but that was only five overs, it was really short and I don’t really count those.

“This is the proper stuff... I’m really glad to be back.”


IOL Sport

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