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Faf cannot hide disappointment at Duanne Kolpak contract

Captain Faf du Plessis speaks during the during the South African national cricket team training session and press conference at SuperSport Park on January 24, 2019.
Captain Faf du Plessis speaks during the during the South African national cricket team training session and press conference at SuperSport Park on January 24, 2019.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

South Africa’s focus may have shifted back to the white-ball‚ 50-over format with the World Cup in mind but the Duanne Olivier-Kolpak matter won’t blow over very quickly.

SA’s captain Faf du Plessis understands the reasoning behind Olivier’s departure but also struggled to hide his disappointment with the abrupt exit.

“It’s the timing that disappoints me the most. It reminds me of the Kyle Abbott matter some two to three years ago‚” Du Plessis said.

“I care for the players so when you see them earn their spot in the team‚ you want them to run with it for a while and get the best out of themselves from an international perspective because I want guys to be the best they can be from an international view.

“The legacy that you leave is your international career and I see a lot of value in that. I’m very disappointed that Duanne didn’t live out the expectation I had in regards with him but I’ve spoken to him about it and his decisions are similar to those of Kyle.

“What unfolded for Duanne during the summer was great but without us knowing‚ he was halfway committed to a different future and security of being in a long-term deal.”

Du Plessis‚ though. said Cricket South Africa have been handling Kolpak contractual matters with the necessary delicacy.

It’s not the first time South Africa have lost players during or after a Sri Lanka series. In early 2017‚ Abbott and Rilee Rossouw took up Kolpak contracts in a year when there was an International Cricket Council trophy (the Champions Trophy that year)‚ at stake.

“There’s been a lot more conversations taking place behind the scenes with the players and I know‚ with Duanne‚ those conversations did take place‚” Du Plessis said.

“CSA wanted to give him a two-year contact and that’s as good a commitment they could give regarding Duanne and his future. They are trying‚ or they tried then‚ but it's a problem CSA will face and not because of what they’ve done‚ but the broader challenges that cricket faces.”

There’s still the significant matter of Sunday’s first ODI against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers that the hosts need to deal with.

Their pride and ego took a serious bruising during the Test series that they lost 2-0.

Du Plessis said they’re not going to underestimate Sri Lanka even though their recent ODI record hasn’t been something to worry about.

“If you asked me before the Test series‚ I would have said they’re a better ODI side than a Test unit. However‚ they’ve proven that wrong and they’ve got Lasith Malinga‚ who didn’t play the last time we won in Sri Lanka. I also don’t know what we’re going to get in terms of conditions‚” Du Plessis said.

“The last time we played here‚ the wicket wasn’t a normal Wanderers wicket but when they play in conditions that they’re comfortable in‚ they’re very dangerous.”

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