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South Africa v England 2022/23

‘A lot of water needs to run through’ – Faf du Plessis responds to reports of potential South Africa comeback

Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis at the BBL
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Faf du Plessis has responded to reports in the South African media that he could make a comeback to the international set-up, cooling speculation that a recall is imminent, but saying that he “wants what’s best for South Africa cricket”.

Du Plessis retired from Test cricket in early 2021 in order to “[make] T20 cricket the priority in the short-term”. However, that swansong Test match remains the 38-year-old’s last match for South Africa across formats, with discussions around his availability and relations with those at the top of South African cricket swirling.

Du Plessis choosing to play in franchise T20 tournaments over the national side led to his non-selection for the 2021 T20 World Cup, with du Plessis describing Cricket South Africa’s desire to have their most in-demand players play every game as an “unrealistic expectation”. His book, Faf: Through Fire, further highlighted the tensions between him and the top brass, with du Plessis writing that his retirement from Test cricket was prompted by a breakdown in the relationship between him and former head coach Mark Boucher.


South Africa failed to make the semi-finals of either of the 2021 or 2022 T20 World Cups, losing out on net run rate in the former and succumbing to a shock final-game defeat to the Netherlands in the latter. They face a challenge to qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup, currently placed 11th out of 13 teams in the Cricket World Cup Super League, with those outside the top eight forced to go through a qualifying event.

At a pivotal juncture for South Africa on the field, with two new head coaches – Shukri Conrad in Test cricket and Rob Walter in white-ball cricket – in place, and with du Plessis still in excellent form in T20 cricket, there has been talk of a possible return to the side. Du Plessis, speaking on talkSPORT’s Following On Cricket Podcast, responded to media reports, saying that it was “very early on” in the process.

“Harmy, you know better than I do that articles like that are to create a nice story!” he said to Stephen Harmison, the show’s host. “It’s very early on in that, in my own mind I haven’t seen that to be an option, but obviously now there will be talks around that again. Let’s see, a lot of water needs to run through.”

However, he added that he was keen to chat with Walter and do what was required for South Africa.

“I’m actually looking forward to having a conversation with the new head coach,” he said. “Not about me actually, I think what’s really important for South African cricket… everyone wants the best for South African cricket, so if you can pull in all the guys that have been around the team for a while and make sure we invest as much as we can into making sure that Protea team is as strong as it can be. From what I’ve heard, both of them are keen to make sure that we pull all the strong cricket brains into one hat and make sure we get the South African team to where it needs to be.”

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