Even if Faf du Plessis scores eight ducks in a row, he should remain part of the Protea side.
JOHANNESBURG – South African cricketer Faf du Plessis is defining the role of a rescue batter as part of a team’s setup in the modern game of test cricket.
Du Plessis, a batsman of moderate talent with a modest career thus far, has made no real claim to deserve being a part of the world-beating Protea team under any normal circumstances. “I never understood why they keep selecting me,” shrugs Du Plessis. “I just assumed it’s because I look good in team photos.”
However, circumstances aren’t always normal. Du Plessis has a discernable knack for scoring runs when all else fails. He is a rescue batsman. “Faf somehow scores runs whenever it seems inevitable that we are bound to lose miserably,” praised Protea Captain Graeme Smith. “That’s why we keep him around.”
It doesn’t matter if Du Plessis scores eight ducks in row or spends half his time at the crease lying on the pitch after getting his crown jewels sculpted by a fast bowler, because scoring runs doesn’t matter when you are surrounded by some of the greatest batsmen of all time in Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers. They will score runs, they will win games.
But what happens when they don’t. “You need someone in the team to come through when the players you expect to come through don’t come through,” insists convener of selectors Andrew Hudson. “Coming through when no one comes through is a talent that we need to identify and nurture in a player. We’d like to see more players with that ability come through the ranks.”
The coaching staff admits that it’s not easy to handle players like Du Plessis. “It’s a tough job to keep a player’s spirit up when he continues to fail,” says mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton. “But you need to have him ready to perform when everyone else fails.”
Du Plessis would score a lot more runs if he is a member of a team staring down the barrel of defeat more often,” commented team mate and long-time friend AB de Villiers. “Unfortunately, when you play for the number one ranked team in the world, you don’t get many opportunities to rescue your team from humiliation.”
“Faf du Plessis is the reason why we’re the best in the world,” asserts fast bowler Vernon Philander. “Even when we’re losing, we win.” BN
Like all good sportsmen, Raoul was born in the Free State before being offered more money to move to Gauteng. He has such a keen knowledge of the games that he doesn’t need to watch it to know what’s going on. When he’s not following athletes around, Raoul can be found on his farm near Bronkhorstspruit, drinking whiskey and shooting his gun.
- Mandela May Have Saved A Nation, But He Nearly Ruined My Treasured Photograph (PaddyUpton.com)
- South Africa aiming to be number one T20 team by start of World T20, says Faf du Plessis (battingwithbimal.wordpress.com)
- South Africa v India 2013: 1st Test: Day 2: 5 of the Best Plays of the Day (playupblog.wordpress.com)
- South Africa retain Test squad for two-Test series against India (battingwithbimal.wordpress.com)