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Who will make way for in-form Faf du Plessis if he returns to Proteas fold?

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Faf du Plessis. Picture: Sajjad Hussain/AFP

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Faf du Plessis. Picture: Sajjad Hussain/AFP

Published Apr 22, 2023


Gqeberha - Faf du Plessis has forced his way back into contention with his recent performances in the Indian Premier League and it will be hard for Cricket South Africa (CSA) not to discuss him when the Proteas squad for the World Cup is being finalised.

Form aside, the former Proteas captain brings a calming presence to the change room to go along with consistent performances with the bat.

All of these factors will present a challenge to the selectors considering that the current Proteas ODI squad looks very settled now that they have been able to brush aside England, the West Indies and the Dutch here at home.

All this time, Du Plessis was not in the picture, but could the current squad pull off the same performances in the pressures of the World Cup?

Du Plessis has played in three World Cups and can add a lot of value in the white ball set-up in what is a big year for white-ball cricket.

Moreover, he has the personality and leadership style that allows other players to grow and thrive alongside him.

He is tender to the youngsters, but serious about the game, a brilliant combination to inspire the relatively young Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen to take their games to the next level.

He is an inspirational figure and the squad could benefit from that immensely.

“He’s an approachable individual,” said CSA performance analyst Prasanna Agoram.

“He’s not a guy that will sit up like a headmaster and tell you what to do.

“The first thing he wants to do after a loss is to make sure the team environment is healthy and happy, as long as the team learns from the losses.

“That is the kind of a senior player you want in your team. Someone who is easily approachable, soft spoken and understands the game excellently.

“That is what makes Faf so easy to work with.”

The ongoing Indian Premier League only confirms what most have already noticed about Du Plessis’s form with the bat in white-ball cricket.

Four half-centuries in six innings of the IPL 2023, in a Royal Challengers Bangalore shirt, is no easy task, but Du Plessis has made it look that way.

The 38-year-old is striking at 166.50 and has thus far smashed 23 sixes and 25 fours.

Faf du Plessis currently holds the orange cap courtesy of his unrivalled 343 runs and counting this season.

With the 50-over World Cup also in India later this year, it could be the perfect come-back to international cricket for Du Plessis should he be selected for the World Cup.

His experience of the venues in India would also come in handy for a team led by a fairly inexperienced captain in Temba Bavuma.

The main question is: How would Du Plessis fit in the team?

Rassie van der Dussen has been a consistent performer at number three in the batting order, but so has Klaasen at five and six in the batting order.

Markram is coming of age in the 50-over format after several years of not living up to expectations.

His 175 on Pink Day at the Wanderers concluded what looks to be a season that will take his career on a different trajectory.

One of the three batters has to miss out if Du Plessis is to make his return to international cricket in October.