Injured du Plessis unlikely for Zimbabwe series
South Africa's all-format captain Faf du Plessis could miss the team's next assignment - three ODIs and three T20Is against Zimbabwe, with the first ODI starting on September 30 - as he recovers from a second shoulder injury in less than a year. Du Plessis, who had surgery on his right shoulder in late 2017, has been ruled out of the rest of the ongoing tour in Sri Lanka with a rotator-cuff tear in the same shoulder and will not rush his return ahead of a busy summer and the 2019 World Cup.
"It's important to get the shoulder as strong as possible," du Plessis said on his arrival back to Cape Town on Friday. "Playing against Zimbabwe would be nice but an extra few weeks (of recovery) would be good. I was under pressure before the India series but I managed to get through it. No disrespect to Zimbabwe but there's a lot cricket still to be played. The long-term goal is the most important thing."
When du Plessis made his comeback from the surgery, which took place when he picked up a back injury against Bangladesh in October last year, he was also forced to give Zimbabwe the cold shoulder in the Boxing Day Test.
South Africa will only host five Tests in the 2018-19 season - half the number of the previous summer - but 13 ODIs and du Plessis hopes to play a part in most of that despite the lower profile of the fixtures. Zimbabwe will be followed by Pakistan and Sri Lanka, who may not be as anticipated as India and Australia but should still present a challenge.
"Last year was probably my favourite Test cricket year. To win those series back-to-back with fantastic support represented a real high for me," du Plessis said. "This summer, Pakistan shouldn't be underestimated, especially given the seam capabilities they have. They are the subcontinent team with the best seam attack and they've got every chance to be successful. That will be a big challenge. And then ODI cricket will take more of the focus, but I'm excited about that."