Faf du Plessis has not been dropped from the ODI team‚ says selector Linda Zondi

22 January 2020 - 13:30
By Khanyiso Tshwaku
South Africa's Faf du Plessis (C) during the coin toss on day 1 of the first International Test Series 2019/20 game between South Africa and England at Supersport Park, Centurion on 26 December 2019.
Image: ©Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix South Africa's Faf du Plessis (C) during the coin toss on day 1 of the first International Test Series 2019/20 game between South Africa and England at Supersport Park, Centurion on 26 December 2019.

Cricket SA's independent selector Linda Zondi said embattled Test captain Faf du Plessis hasn't been dropped from the ODI team and has simply been rested.

The 35-year-old Du Plessis's long-term future has been a matter of furious debate and his lack of batting form has been a serious problem for the struggling Test side.

Du Plessis was the national team captain at last year's disastrous Cricket World Cup and has mentioned that this year's T20 World Cup in Australia could be his swansong.

“Faf isn't dropped and so is Kagiso Rabada. We've rested them.

"We've got a T20 series coming up and that's in lieu for the T20 World Cup later this year.

"We've also got other players who are tied up elsewhere with other competitions whom we are interested in selecting‚ like Imran Tahir and Chris Morris.

"They're not available now‚ but at a specific time and series‚ they'll have to make themselves available for selection if they want to play in the T20 World Cup‚” Zondi said.

“AB de Villiers has also indicated his interest and all these things have to be managed. At this stage‚ Faf hasn't retired‚ so it's a process.”

As the previous selection convenor‚ Zondi was at the heart of the De Villiers availability matter that rocked the Proteas at last year's World Cup.

Reports emerged of De Villiers wanting to rescind his May 2018 international retirement before the tournament started‚ but that request wasn't taken to heart by Cricket SA.

In his absence‚ SA tried all available middle-order options in the lead-up to the tournament.

Zondi said he hasn't personally been in conversation with De Villiers‚ but the fact that he's signalled early intentions means the team can plan for his availability.

SA have 11 T20's lined up before the T20 World Cup in October.

“I haven't had conversations with AB but I see the team director in Mark Boucher and Faf have spoken to him and he's shown interest.

"I don't have a problem with that and even last year‚ I didn't have a problem when we asked him to come back for the World Cup because I was involved. It was the timing and how it was done‚” Zondi said.

“This time‚ he registered his interest early and for us now‚ it's a case of how do we plan around that in terms of him and other freelancers being available for particular series so they can be eligible for World Cup selections.

"No one can just come into a tournament squad without playing in a series. You need to compete but we still need to give opportunities to guys while we still have back-up plans.”

The mere mention of Temba Bavuma's name this season has been a source of fierce debate‚ especially in Test cricket.

As a white ball player‚ Bavuma has been used sporadically by the Proteas‚ but effectively by the Lions as a top-order batsman and captain.

Zondi said they'd like to see Bavuma convert his white ball form for the Lions into something significant for the national team.

In last year's CSA's Franchise T20 Challenge Final‚ Bavuma scored a 100 for the Lions against the Warriors.

“We need to see what Temba can offer in white ball cricket.

"He picked up nicely in T20 cricket last year and for us‚ it's always better when you move from 20-over to 50-over cricket. We've always felt that he's capable of playing white ball cricket.

"It's a matter of him getting an opportunity and seeing what he can offer because we still have enough time in terms of him getting into the team and dominate‚” Zondi said.

“He showed us a glimpse last year with the Lions and everyone talks about the 100 he made against Ireland. That wasn't a strong side. Let's see what he can bring against England to see if he can measure his success and see if he's capable at this level.”