Du Plessis wants to keep T20 captaincy

Faf du Plessis: ‘The wrong side of 30 would be over 35. I am 31. That’s the right side of 30 and see myself playing a big role’ © Getty Images

Faf du Plessis has committed to staying on as South Africa’s T20 captain even though the next World T20 is four years away. Du Plessis, who is 31, considers himself “on the right side of 30,” to keep playing international cricket in the foreseeable future.

Du Plessis is one of four South African players to have reached 1,000 T20 runs – the others being JP Duminy, AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla – and has led them since February 2013. All four players play in all three formats and are among a group that also includes Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir, who are expected to give up some formats of the game in the near future.

“The wrong side of 30 would be over 35. I am 31. That’s the right side of 30 and see myself playing a big role,” du Plessis said. “I haven’t thought of stopping playing T20 cricket. I feel my performances speak for themselves.”

After South Africa completed their World T20 campaign with a facile victory over Sri Lanka in Delhi, du Plessis suggested de Villiers was fully committed to all formats but told reporters they would have to ask Steyn himself if he wants to continue. Amla had earlier in the week claimed South Africa’s big names still had more to offer and du Plessis has put his name on the list of those who do.

“I love captaining South Africa. I think some of the players, yes, won’t be there in four years,” he said. “But there won’t be a lot of T20 cricket in the next while. So we can look at it in terms of a few younger guys coming through and building for the future. It’s impossible to look four years ahead. It’s an incredibly long time but for now I am loving playing T20 cricket and loving captaining South Africa.”

South Africa are not scheduled to play their next T20s until a home series against Sri Lanka in January 2017, which means du Plessis will not have to take on much of a leadership role before then while CSA will also undergo an extensive post-season review. Still, he hopes that the progress the T20 side had made in the last few months – which included series wins over Bangladesh India and England – will not be forgotten and they can use that as a springboard to develop their other formats.

“The T20 side has been very successful of late. We didn’t produce at an ICC tournament. The T20 World Cup is a tough one. Your easy game is supposed to be Afghanistan and they are just as good in these conditions,” he said. “Our ODI side has also team has improved a lot. Two years ago we were in a bit of a hole and we rebuilt the side, now the Test side is there.”

South Africa have come through one of their least successful periods with defeats in successive Test series and the bubble bursting on the fine limited-overs form they built up. Du Plessis believes the foundations for fixing things are there, they just need some fine-tuning.

“In terms of ticking the boxes we had all areas covered. We had great variety in pace bowling. We had different combinations to play. We had great spin options, all round options. Everything was there,” he said. “It was just a case of how to you deliver on the day when the pressure is on and that’s the difference between winning a World Cup and getting knocked out.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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