South Africa suffered a humiliating innings defeat against England in the third Test at Port Elizabeth to concede a lead of 2-1 to the hosts with a Test to play. After a dismal year for South Africa, not a lot has changed in the first few weeks of this new year.
The win in the first Test at Centurion brought some lost pride and a hope that would revive their fortunes at the highest level. However, two consecutive defeats against England, yet again leave the hosts with a lot to ponder upon in the near future.
Skipper Faf du Plessis has been under the scrutiny after failing to take any responsibility with the bat. In last six games, Faf has scored merely 255 runs at an average nearing 12. His poor form with the bat has let the team down giving rise to a few pertinent questions if it is time for South Africa to move on?
Even in the past, the South African skipper had made it clear about his future plans and his commitment to continue until the T20 World Cup later this year. As a result, the Johannesburg could possibly be Faf’s last Test appearance at the home soil.
In the post-match presser after a disappointing outing for his team, Faf hinted upon Johannesburg Test being his swansong Test at his home soil.
“I have said before, there is an opportunity to release some of the captaincy. Two Test matches in the West Indies [in July], and the rest of the year is white-ball stuff. Most probably after that, Test cricket will be something that won’t see me. That’s a decision I will make then. For me now it’s to be as strong as possible,” Du Plessis said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
The 35-year old also reckons that he he’s not someone who’ll leave the job mid-way through the series. He believes that a team that is in transition needs a experienced players like him. “The worst thing a leader can do is pull the plug mid-series. I don’t think that’s what’s leadership is about. I felt that the team has needed a leader to stand up and guide the ship through a difficult time.” said Du Plessis.
It can be assumed that Du Plessis is almost done with Test cricket in his career, and that too at his home soil. South Africa have only two Tests scheduled to be played during the month of July in West Indies before the T-20 World Cup this year.
Cover picture credits: Latestly