“I would be open to that” – South Africa white-ball coach ready to welcome Faf du Plessis back into the limited-overs set-up

Newly appointed South Africa’s limited-overs coach Rob Walter has opened the door for Faf du Plessis’ return to the national side. Walter admitted that South Africa need quality players like Du Plessis for a resurgence after their recent struggles.

The former Proteas skipper hasn’t donned national colors since February 2021 after the second Test match against Pakistan in Rawalpindi. However, he has been in encouraging form in franchise cricket, shining in the Indian Premier League (IPL), SA20, and the Big Bash League in Australia.

Speaking to the Rapport newspaper, Walter stated that the veteran batter might have retired from Test cricket, but remains a superb player in the shortest format. He revealed that he is open to discussions with Faf du Plessis about playing for South Africa again, saying:

“Faf has not retired yet. He is still playing very good T20 cricket. He will build his future around T20 leagues. I haven’t spoken to him at all yet, but if he would like to talk about the possibility of playing for South Africa again, I would be open to that.

“He is a quality player, and the more quality players you have who want to play for South Africa, the better. If he’s one of those players, that’s great. Does this mean he will play for South Africa again? I do not know.”

Du Plessis was not picked in South Africa’s squad for their upcoming ODI series against England at home. The Proteas have retained Temba Bavuma as captain, but his future as their skipper remains unclear after the 2022 T20 World Cup debacle.

“We have a very clear policy that outlines the availability of non-contracted players” – Chief Selector on Faf du Plessis’ national selection

Faf du Plessis. (Credits: Getty)
Faf du Plessis. (Credits: Getty)

Last year, Chief Selector Victor Mpitsang explained the selection criteria for non-contracted players. He stated that they must play for a South African professional team or be available for such a team to be able to feature for the Proteas.

As quoted by SA Cric Mag, Mpitsang said:

“We have a very clear policy that outlines the availability of non-contracted players. A player who is not nationally contracted ‘must play for a South African professional team, or be available to play for such a team immediately’ before [playing] for the Proteas.”

Faf du Plessis announced his Test retirement in February 2021 and cited his strained relationship with then-coach Mark Boucher for the same. He remains South Africa’s fifth-highest run-getter in T20Is with 1528 runs in 50 matches at an average of 35.53 and a strike rate of 134.38.

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