“It’s not the right time to be making decisions about your future, with emotions and the disappointment of the World Cup still fresh,” Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, said before the final match against Australia at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Du Plessis, who turns 35 next week, has been made an offer to captain the Perth Scorchers in Australia’s Big Bash but admits that the tournament’s expansion from four week to six weeks – and 42 games to 59 – is a significant disincentive.
He has also been made a couple of offers to play in the Bangladesh Premier League which overlaps with the beginning of the Big Bash where it is possible to earn twice as much as the salary-capped Australian competition.
Du Plessis made no mention of the Mzansi Super League which is scheduled to take place for the second time in South Africa from the beginning of November to mid December, a clash with both of the alternatives. Du Plessis admitted that he was also considering his position as South Africa’s captain after the disastrous World Cup campaign but it is unlikely CSA will be happy with their captain being unavailable for the tournament they desperately need to become the showpiece of the domestic summer.
The horrendous Test series defeat in India three years ago still rankles with du Plessis and he has been keen to scratch the itch when the Proteas return for another three-Test series in October but, despite being in the best form of his career during the last year, he cannot avoid the reality that the current Test team is significantly weaker than the one comfortably beaten 3-0 three years ago. There would be no reason to return to the same place with a weaker team expecting a different result – against an Indian team which has become even stronger.
Another incentive to continue is the prospect of a full tour of South Africa by England at the end of the year. But that, too, is likely to require missing out on a significant pay-cheque in either Australia or Bangladesh.
But more likely than anything else to sway Du Plessis’ decision is the nature of the relationship between the CSA executive and the players in the coming months. Du Plessis, along with Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada, was supposed to be withdrawn early from the IPL in order to rest and prepare adequately for the World Cup. The agreement between CSA and India’s BCCI, however, was ‘forgotten’ by CSA who stood to benefit by over $200k in compensation – per player – if they were available for the entire tournament.
The discussions about the return of the administrative selection veto are still continuing. Nothing has upset the country’s international cricketers more over the last 15-18 years than the prospect – and reality – of the CSA president over-ruling the job done by the convenor and his fellow selectors.
The veto was removed from the CSA Constitution after significant work by current president Chris Nenzani but its return seemed likely before the World Cup – until Nenzani once again intervened. Current chief executive, Thabang Moroe, has said the issue will be discussed again after the tournament. Should that power return to the administrative headquarters, it is highly unlikely that du Plessis would have any desire to remain involved.
For now, however, the captain can reflect on a magnificent century against Australia at a wonderful venue. If it should be his last act for his country in ODI cricket, it was a hell of a way to depart the stage.
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