Proteas

Faf unsure of post-2019 future as exodus looms

2018-04-04 14:39
Faf du Plessis (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Controversies aside, this has been a superb home summer for the Proteas. 

Under new coach Ottis Gibson, Faf du Plessis and his men secured a 2-1 Test series win over India before beating Australia in a home Test series for the first time since 1970. 

On Tuesday at the Wanderers, South Africa wrapped up the series 3-1 with a thumping 421-run win in the fourth Test. 

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the series, from a South African point of view, is that everybody contributed. 

Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram look a settled and well-drilled opening pair. They scored three centuries between them - Markram two and Elgar one - and they look set to open the batting together for a long time.

Hashim Amla may have had a poor series by his standards, but he still chipped in with a valuable half-century in Cape Town that went a long way towards giving the hosts the ascendency in that match.

AB de Villiers was superb throughout, while Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma made big scores in Johannesburg. 

Quinton de Kock, meanwhile, seemed to regain some touch with the bat but it is his wicketkeeping that has been particularly impressive. His catch down the leg side standing up to Vernon Philander at the Wanderers was exceptional. 

In the bowling department, everyone has thrived. Kagiso Rabada, Philander, Morne Morkel, Keshav Maharaj and Lungi Ngidi all delivered. 

Morkel has obviously retired, but there is still a feeling of this being an incredibly settled unit. 

Unfortunately, South Africa will not play Test cricket again until mid-July when they travel to Sri Lanka for a two-Test series. 

After that, they play just one Test against Zimbabwe, three against Pakistan and three more against Sri Lanka before the 2019 Cricket World Cup. 

With several big-name players expected to leave the national set-up after the 2019 World Cup, this could have been the last time to see the likes of Amla, De Villiers, Du Plessis and Philander taking on one of the giant Test nations. 

Post-2019, new talent will have to be unearthed. 

Du Plessis is fully aware of that, but he has not decided anything in terms of his own future or how the Proteas can avoid a mass exodus after 2019.

"I think it's something that we can only decide in time," he said.

"There has been a lot of talk about 2019 and the World Cup, but the last year has moved so quickly and now we're a year away from the World Cup.

"All of us are in a similar boat where we're just taking it series by series and if the hunger is still there, from my perspective, I'll try and push for as long as I can."

While the future is uncertain, this South African Test side is in a healthier state now than it has been for a long time. 

"Everyone stood up," Du Plessis said after the fourth Test.

"For Aiden in his first big series, I remember coming out to bat with him in Durban and there was a lot of chirp that he only scores runs against the small nations. He’s looking pretty good after this series. 

"Even before this series I knew he was special.

"There is big depth to our squad now. We are losing a big player in Morne but I do feel there are guys who can step up."

"This, as a whole, is the most complete we have been in a series." 

Read more on:    proteas  |  faf du plessis  |  johannesburg  |  cricket
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