CAPE TOWN – South Africa may have opted for a four-pronged pace attack at Newlands in the second Test against Pakistan, but captain Faf du Plessis is concerned about his bowling unit’s workload in a World Cup year.
Du Plessis’s primary fear is the upcoming Indian Premier League where Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi are all set to participate. Even more disturbing for the Proteas is that Nortje and Ngidi are already on the sidelines with ankle and knee injuries respectively.
“The obvious one for me is the IPL,” Du Plessis said. “The IPL is just before the World Cup, and the last thing you want is one of your bowlers getting injured just before the tournament. That’s something that’s a concern for us, seeing how we can play that scenario out best.”
South Africa were also without the services of all-rounder Chris Morris for long periods of last season when he picked up a back injury playing for Delhi in last season’s IPL. It is expected that Morris will play a pivotal role in South Africa’s limited-overs squads during the home international summer when the Proteas face Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
But it is his chief talisman Rabada that Du Plessis will most want to wrap in cotton wool before the showpiece event in England starting in May. The 23-year-old strike bowler, though, is currently in possession of a R7.7million contract with the Delhi Capitals.
He was retained for the 2019 edition despite being ruled out of last season’s IPL with a lower back injury. Rabada spent three months on the sidelines recuperating and South Africa’s team management would be hesitant to send the fast bowler to India to partake in the entire six-week event.
To compound matters, Rabada has admitted to feeling the strain of a long international season, coupled with returning to play a leading role in the Jozi Stars’ successful Mzansi Super League campaign before the home summer has even started.
“I’ve been feeling a bit tired the past three months,” Rabada said. “But it’s been getting better. That’s a positive. [I’m] gradually getting there. Hopefully, I peak at the right time [against Pakistan].”
South Africa are not alone in trying to manage their fast bowlers’ workloads. Cricket Australia have already indicated that their fast men will play a limited role in the IPL this season, leading to paceman Mitchell Starc being released by the Kolkata Knight Riders.@ZaahierAdams