ODI snub made me hungrier - Faf
“Fame is a vapour, popularity is an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow and only one thing endures – character,” said Harry S Truman, former president of the United States.
Perhaps Faf du Plessis encapsulates that word: character.
Under pressure after a string of failures against Pakistan, he proved his detractors wrong with 134 against India in 395 minutes of blood, sweat and toil to deny India victory in the first test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
He featured in a 205-run partnership with AB de Villiers that almost carried South Africa to a historic win as the Proteas finished on 450 for 7.
Du Plessis has showed that character before. In his debut test he scored an undefeated 110 in 466 minutes, facing 376 balls to deny Australia victory at the Adelaide Oval.
Du Plessis, though, revealed that he would like to display that defiance again by answering the selectors who axed him from the One-Day International team after some notable successes as a No 3 batsman in the final three ODIs against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates where he recorded scores of 55 and 46.
“I was a bit disappointed and surprised to have been left out of the ODI team. I realise that Jacques Kallis would return to the No 3 spot, but I was still surprised not to have been part of the overall squad,” he said without a tinge of bitterness.
The fact that he was dropped, made him hungrier to succeed.
Du Plessis said he hopes the weight of runs in tests and T20 matches would force the selectors to take note of him for the ODI team again.
Currently, the SA middle-order batsman is recovering from a shoulder niggle and had a cortisone injection to ease the pain.
“I hope to be ready for Friday’s RAM SLAM T20 Challenge match against the bizhub Highveld Lions at Potchefstroom.
He sustained the injury when doing some throw-downs to Hashim Amla at Kingsmead in Durban while the second test against India was in progress.
Du Plessis says if the national selectors choose him to fill Kallis’s role as the No 4 batsman in tests, it would be massive boots to fill, and it will put pressure on him, but he is ready for the challenge.
“The Australian attack is perhaps closest to the SA bowling unit,” he added. “(Mitchell) Johnson has express pace. Peter Siddle’s bowling is similar to Vernon Philander’s style, while Ryan Harris provides the bounce. Their spinner (Nathan Lyon) is bowling very well at the moment.
“It might suit us to prepare a greener wicket. It might help us to neutralise David Warner, as he could do a lot of damage on another wicket,” he said.
Du Plessis said his good defensive performances have forced him to take stock of his own batting style and to use the success of the Wanderers century to improve his test contributions.
“I was just very disappointed to have been run out in Durban. I felt very confident, and I would have loved to have contributed an undefeated 60 or 70. When you are in, you have to make it count,” he added