Thursday Jan 21, 2021
South Africa’s former captain and middle order batsman Faf du Plessis on Thursday said that his experience of visiting Pakistan as ICC World XI captain played a huge role in Proteas’ decision to play red-ball cricket in the country.
In a video shared by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the 36-year-old said that when he returned to his home country after that tour, he spoke of his experiences that gave other players the confidence to visit Pakistan.
“That [ICC World XI tour] was the first step to bring any sort of cricket back and I think what they did really well at that stage was to bring players from all around the world to come and play and to see that the security levels were going to be very, very good and it gave players peace of mind,” du Plessis said.
“I was captaining that team so for me to go back into South Africa, and then speak of my experiences that I felt safe in Pakistan was a huge tip in where we are today.”
South Africa is visiting Pakistan after a break of 14 years to play two Tests and three Twenty20 Internationals against the hosts.
Du Plessis said that while he did not expect red-ball cricket to return to Pakistan so soon, he looks forward to be a part of it. “That is one thing I did not see happening in my time. I knew white-ball cricket was happening here, but I did not know that the red-ball cricket was going to happen this soon, “he said.
“I am looking forward to it and I hope that it is the same as it was 13 years ago – the wickets are flat so we the batters can score some runs.”
The middle order batsman is travelling Pakistan for the third time in less than four years. He captained an ICC World XI team for three T20Is in Lahore in 2017 and then returned to Karachi last year to participate in Pakistan Super League (PSL) play-offs for Peshawar Zalmi.
Du Plessis added that it is important for Pakistan players to play cricket in home soil to inspire youngsters in the country. “They have been playing in the UAE for the last 11 years. So, their fans have never seen them play and that’s almost like a generation that’s missed seeing them play,” he said.
“Pakistan fans are very proud of their team so for them to have that back, there is going to be a lot of joy for the people.
The two teams will play the first Test at National Stadium Karachi on January 26 while the second Test will be played in Rawalpindi from February 4.