Is Faf du Plessis returning to South Africa's T20I side?

Du Plessis hasn't participated in an international match since 2021

By Web Desk
December 06, 2023
Faf du Plessis - AFP

Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has disclosed his contemplation of a return to international cricket ahead of next year's ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

Du Plessis hasn't participated in an international match since his appearance for South Africa in the second Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in 2021. His last white-ball encounter for his country was in a T20I match against England in Cape Town at the conclusion of 2020.

However, the 39-year-old has exhibited strong performances at the domestic level lately. He ranked second, just behind Shubman Gill, for the most runs in this year's Indian Premier League. Du Plessis amassed 730 runs for Royal Challengers Bangalore from 14 innings.

Presently in Abu Dhabi, Du Plessis is engaged in another domestic tournament. He has suggested that discussions with South Africa's new white-ball coach, Rob Walter, have revolved around a potential comeback to the international arena before the commencement of the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies midway through next year.

"I believe that I can return to international cricket," du Plessis said.

"We have been speaking about this for the last couple of years. It's just figuring out the balance of the T20 World Cup next year. It's certainly something we have spoken about with the new coach."

Du Plessis led South Africa in two T20 World Cup campaigns in 2014 and 2016, yet he hasn't been in contention for the last two tournaments, despite not formally retiring from international white-ball cricket.

Walter hinted at the chance of du Plessis and several other seasoned players making a comeback when he spoke about a group of players who weren't under consideration for South Africa's forthcoming tour of India.

“Given that some of our frontline bowlers are missing out and there are guys - let me throw it out there just to create some media hype - like Faf (du Plessis) and Rilee (Rossouw) as well as Quinny (de Kock) that could well be considered for a T20 World Cup,” Walter said.

“And then also the (South African domestic tournament) SA20 that happens next year - 80 per cent of the side picks itself but there is definitely a space for other guys to get themselves into the conversation."

Although du Plessis no longer has a central playing contract with South Africa, he boasts 23 international centuries across the three formats and remains confident in his ability to make a comeback and represent his country in cricket, believing he is still in fine form.

"I do a lot of hard work to ensure I look after my body to be able to play this brilliant game we love so much," he added.

"When you do get a little bit older, you have to make sure you put in the work.

"Otherwise, the hamstring and other body parts do not work that well.

"There is a lot of fast running and a lot of stuff to make sure that level where you can play against the best players in the world.”