Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith on Wednesday said that with Faf du Plessis retiring, there would be a big gap in the Proteas Test side.Smith’s remarks came as former Proteas skipper du Plessis announced his retirement from the longest format of the game on Wednesday to focus on the next two T20 World Cups.
“Faf has been a prolific Test cricketer for the Proteas for a number of years now and to lose him in this format is going to leave another big gap in the team. His commitment to the team has always been undoubtable and his transparency with Cricket South Africa about his plans has always been appreciated and we respect his decision, knowing he would not have come by it easily,” said Smith in an official release.
“I would like to thank Faf on behalf of CSA for his years of service and dedication to the Proteas’ Test team and we look forward to engaging further with him on how he can continue contributing to the team in a meaningful way,” he added.
Du Plessis, who recently featured in the two-match Test series against Pakistan, represented South Africa in 69 fixtures of the longest format of the game.
The former South Africa skipper amassed 4163 Test runs at an average of 40.02. He hit 10 centuries and 21 half-centuries in the longest format of the game.
Du Plessis didn’t have a good outing with the bat in Pakistan. He scored 55 runs in four innings as South Africa faced a crushing 2-0 defeat in the Test series.
“It has been a year of refinement in the fire for us all. Uncertain were the times, but they brought clarity for me in many respects. My heart is clear and the time is right to walk into a new chapter. It has been an honour to play for my country in all the formats of the game, but the time has come for me to retire from Test cricket,” Du Plessis said in his Instagram post.
“If someone had told me 15 years ago, that I would play 69 Test matches for South Africa and captain the side, I wouldn’t have believed them. I stand in a place of utmost gratitude for a test career full of blessings bestowed on me. Every high and low has shaped me into the man I am proud to stand as today. In all things, those instances worked towards the good of who I believe I am today,” he added.
The right-handed batsman, who plays for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the India Premier League (IPL), wants to focus on the two upcoming T20I World Cups slated to be held in India and Australia respectively.
“The next two years are ICC T20 World cup years. Because of this, my focus is shifting to this format and I want to play as much of it as possible around the world so that I can be the best player I can possibly be. I strongly believe that I have a lot to offer to Proteas in this format. This does not mean that ODI cricket is no longer in the plans, I’m just making T20 cricket the priority in the short-term,” said Du Plessis.
Du Plessis made his Test debut against Australia at Adelaide in November 2012. He scored an impressive 78 in the first innings and hit a valiant century in the second essay to help South Africa draw the Test.
The right-handed batsman announced himself unequivocally in the format when he scored 78 and 110 not-out on debut against Australia, becoming and remaining the only South African to have scored a half-century and century on Test debut.
His match-saving 110* in the fourth innings of that match also remains the longest a South African has batted in the fourth innings of a Test match, at 466 minutes.
The Pretoria-born right-hander, who 12 months ago relinquished the captaincy, produced one of his finest innings for South Africa as recently as seven weeks ago when he scored 199 in their first Test match of the summer against Sri Lanka at his home ground in Centurion.