In a startling development, South African cricketer Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect. The batsman, who has represented the Proteas in 69 Tests, played his last international red-ball fixture against Pakistan, earlier in February 2021.
Faf du Plessis made his Test debut in November 2012 against Australia at Adelaide, which incidentally was a year after he made his international bow in ODIs. Immediately, he stamped his authority on the Test circuit, compiling an incredible knock of 110* off 376 balls – an innings that allowed the Proteas to bat 148 overs and come away with an epic draw.
Post that, Faf du Plessis’ stock kept increasing as he piled up runs for South Africa and became a vital cog for the side, alongside AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla. Just a few years after his debut, he was named skipper of the Proteas, and did exceedingly well, at least at the start of his tenure.
Faf du Plessis had an excellent record as captain at the start
As far as some of his achievements are concerned, he remains the only South African captain to have defeated Australia in a home and away series, whereas he also got the better of New Zealand on the latter’s home patch – a feat that no other outfit has managed since 2015. Additionally, when Virat Kohli’s India visited in 2018, Faf du Plessis steered his side to a 2-1 triumph.
However, administrative issues coupled with South Africa entering a transitional phase meant that he couldn’t replicate the success throughout the stint. He eventually stepped down as the skipper of the Test team in February 2020, after shepherding the Proteas through perhaps their most uneventful period in the 21st century.
Although Faf du Plessis’ form has dropped recently, he still averages 40.02 in Test cricket, having amassed 4163 runs across 69 Tests, with his highest score of 199 coming against Sri Lanka at Centurion in December 2020. Thus, at that juncture, it felt that Faf du Plessis had sparked a renaissance and would be gunning for another home series victory against Australia, with the series initially being scheduled for March 2021.
However, with the rubber being postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19, Faf du Plessis has drawn the curtains on his stellar Test career, meaning that he won’t be able to add to the number of series wins against Australia.
“I really wanted to finish with the upcoming Test series against Australia. That would have felt like it has all come full circle. I had that clarity of mind and heart and even though the ending is not how I imagined, the clarity remains,” Faf du Plessis said.
Having said that, Faf du Plessis has indicated that he would be available to play the white-ball formats for South Africa, with him targeting a spot in the Proteas set-up for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Elsewhere, he is also expected to play a major role for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021, with the three-time champions looking to bounce back after a dismal season.