Cricket South Africa (CSA) has said that the door is open for Faf du Plessis to play for the national side again. While the former captain did not find a spot in the ODI and T20I squads announced on Monday (March 6) to face the West Indies, talks have continued between du Plessis and white-ball coach Rob Walter.
The classy right-handed batter retired from Test cricket in February 2021 but made himself available for the white-ball formats. Despite performing well in franchise leagues worldwide, the 38-year-old has been overlooked for South Africa from limited-overs cricket.
CSA director of cricket Enoch Nkwe said they are always open to having freelance cricketers back in the squads due to the evolving landscape of world cricket. With the board set to announce format-specific central contracts, they could have more players.
As quoted by ESPN Cricinfo, Nkwe said:
“We have always been open to talks with our freelance players and Rob is very much interested in resuming those conversations. A lot of players are still committed to all three formats but we have some players who are only white ball and some only red ball.”
“What we foresee in the near future, maybe even the next 12 months, is that we might even go more specifically to T20, ODI and Test contracts. Those are some of the things that we’re actually looking at.”
He further claimed that Du Plessis was in the reckoning, but they couldn’t reach an agreement.
“There were conversations before the World Cup with the selection panel and the coach and they concluded without a solution. From a CSA point of view, we are happy to engage and see how we can find the best way forward.”
Since his final Test, Du Plessis has averaged 33.91 in 90 innings scoring 2747 runs in the PSL, CPL, IPL, BPL, BBL and SA20, including four centuries. His 369 runs in 11 matches at 41 striking at 147.60 were the second-highest in the inaugural edition of SA20.
“I would be open to that” – Rob Walter on having Faf du Plessis back in the national set-up
Nearly two months ago, Proteas’ white-ball coach Rob Walter acknowledged Du Plessis’ exploits in T20 cricket and that South Africa need quality players like him. As quoted by SA Cric Mag, he stated:
“Faf has not retired yet. He is still playing very good T20 cricket. He will build his future around T20 leagues. I haven’t spoken to him at all yet, but if he would like to talk about the possibility of playing for South Africa again, I would be open to that. He is a quality player, and the more quality players you have who want to play for South Africa, the better.”
The veteran batter will head to India next for IPL 2023 in which he will captain the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).