Faf commits to the Proteas‚ but captaincy issue can still see him walk

25 October 2019 - 16:06 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Faf du Plessis of the Proteas during the South African national cricket team arrival press conference at Southern Sun OR Tambo on October 25, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Faf du Plessis of the Proteas during the South African national cricket team arrival press conference at Southern Sun OR Tambo on October 25, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis remains committed to leading the Test side into an uncertain future‚ but said he is prepared to walk away from representing the team if the powers that be have contrary ideas about the leadership position.

Du Plessis returned with the team from their disappointing tour of India where they were whitewashed 3-0 in the three-match Test series to reaffirm his commitment to the struggling side.

The Proteas toured India with Enoch Nkwe as interim team director‚ but he may not be in charge of the side when England arrive in the country later in the year because Cricket South Africa (CSA) have not made full-time appointments.

“My conversations with Cricket South Africa and Enoch Nkwe are that I am still very much committed to do what I am doing for this team‚” Du Plessis said shortly after the team arrived at OR Tambo Airport on Friday.

“The easiest thing would be to say I am gonna go‚ but it is not where I am right now because I still want to fight for this team. It is about serving the Proteas team and as long as that fire is still burning inside me‚ I will try to continue as long as possible.” Du Plessis added that the past few months‚ including the fateful World Cup in England‚ have been challenging for him but he learned valuable lessons as a player and leader.

“Individually‚ the last couple of months have been tough. We had the World Cup and from there we went into the tour of India‚” he said.

“Rightly so there was criticism‚ which goes the top and it comes to me. I understand that process but this period has been the toughest part of my playing journey.

“You need characters‚ you need fighters‚ people to stand up‚ and the easiest thing is to run away.”

Though he has made himself available‚ Du Plessis said he may have to rethink his priorities if he is to be removed as captain.

“I am not aware of moves to take away the decision of me continuing as captain. All I can do is to be honest with the people that I speak to about how I feel‚” he said.

“What happens from there is out of my control but a big part of me is still invested in this team‚ because this team needs me as a captain‚ as a player and my experience.

“But if people feel that they disagree with that‚ then I am more than mature to say‚ ‘Thank you very much’‚ and decide if the next step is to be involved as a player‚ or it is time to move on.”

Uncertainty that exists around the Proteas at the moment with positions of team director‚ director of cricket and a panel of selectors yet to be filled on a permanent basis is concerning for Du Plessis.

“That is a massive red flag for us‚ me as captain and the team director. It needs to be resolved as soon as possible because we need to make decisions. The most important thing that needs to happen now is clarity‚” he said.

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