In the wake of the heavy defeat in the third Test against England, South Africa Test captain Faf du Plessis has confirmed that the fourth Test of the series at the Wanderers could be his final one on home soil. With the Proteas losing one more Test, the pressure has further increased on Faf du Plessis. South Africa are looking set to lose their third Test series in a row.
Last year, they were stunned by Sri Lanka at home before being whitewashed by India. They started the ongoing season on a good note by winning the first Test but have lost the next two and are now on the verge of losing their second consecutive Test series at home with England 2-1 up. What has made things worse for Faf du Plessis is his poor display with the bat.
The right-handed batsman has not made a Test hundred in over a year. Since the start of the series in India in India, he has averaged 21.25, with 255 runs in 12 innings.
“I have committed until the T20 World Cup,” Faf du Plessis was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. “There isn’t a lot of Test cricket left this year: one massive Test where we need everyone to be as strong as possible, [and] afterwards there is quite a big gap.
“I have said before, there is an opportunity to release some of the captaincy. Two Test matches in the West Indies [in July], and the rest of the year is white-ball stuff. Most probably after that, Test cricket will be something that won’t see me. That’s a decision I will make then. For me now it’s to be as strong as possible,” he added.
He further said it was “a possibility” that the fourth Test at the Wanderers would be his last at home. At the same time, he also stated that “the worst thing a leader can do is pull the plug mid-series”.
“I don’t think that’s what’s leadership is about. I felt that the team has needed a leader to stand up and guide the ship through a difficult time. If you leave the team when they need you most, that’s not my style. I have been under pressure a few times and I’ve played my best innings under pressure.
“I can’t leave the team when they need me most. We are in a transition but I can’t do it forever. It has been chipping away at your character. For now, that’s what we need. I think it will make it worse if I say I’m out,” he added.
So far, Faf du Plessis has played 64 Tests, scoring 3,863 runs at an average of just over 40. He has smashed 9 Test centuries and 21 fifties. He has led South Africa in 35 Tests so far and his record has been average as far as his batting is concerned. Since taking charge of the team, he has scored 2,181 runs at an average of less than 40.