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Ken Borland

Faf batting with same class, but same situation remains with Proteas

Posted on April 22, 2022 by Ken

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis continues to bat with the same class and explosiveness as he showed in his first match as skipper of the Bangalore Royal Challengers at the weekend, but his team suffered the same fate as they always seem to when they put a big total on the board – losing by five wickets with a full over to spare against the Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League.

Du Plessis changed gears superbly in his innings as his 88 off 57 balls took Bangalore to 205/2 in Mumbai. Opening the batting, the 37-year-old only scored 17 runs off his first 30 balls in seamer-friendly conditions, but two sixes and a four off West Indian paceman Odean Smith in the 13th over took him to his half-century off 41 balls. He plundered 38 runs from his next 16 deliveries, adding 118 in 10 overs with Virat Kohli (41* off 29).

But then, in a recurring theme for Bangalore, their bowlers let them down.

As usual when Du Plessis is the star of the day, in what is still though a domestic league, his display led to plenty of questions over why the Proteas have not chosen him since he retired from Test cricket in February 2021.

The current situation is that Du Plessis is technically available for white-ball cricket, but it is difficult to rely on him at national level because his first priority is playing as a T20 free agent in the leagues around the world. Du Plessis wants a contract to play for South Africa, but CSA cannot afford to contract a player who is only available to them some of the time and in only one format.

Last year Du Plessis said he was taking a sabbatical from ODI cricket in order to concentrate on T20 cricket with World Cups being played in 2021 and this year. He has since made no mention of his ODI availability.

So it would seem Du Plessis has had his day in the Proteas shirt.

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