South Africa wary of visiting Indian cricket team: Faf du Plessis

The Indian cricket team will tour South Africa for four Tests, five ODIs and T20I early next year.

cricket Updated: Aug 26, 2017 23:29 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
South Africa national cricket team,Indian cricket team,Faf du Plessis
Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis are wary of the Indian cricket team that will tour South Africa early next year.(Getty Images)

With a demoralising defeat to England in the recent Test series, South African cricket is at crossroads.

While the upcoming series against Bangladesh wouldn’t really test them, the big one after that is worrying the Proteas. Both the SA captain Faf du Plessis and senior batsman Hashim Amla have conceded that the India-South Africa series in January and February will allow India their best chance to win in South Africa.

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Hashim Amla, who leads Durban Qalandars in the SA T20 Global league, felt that South Africa are a young team and in re-building stage. Amla, the only triple-centurion for SA in Tests, told HT: “It was disappointing the way we fared in England. But we need to understand that South Africa is a young side and in a rebuilding stage. It would be interesting to see how the South Africa T20 Global League pans out. It would be ideal to play in such a league ahead of an important series like against India. The Test series against Bangladesh in September will help us get in the groove.”

Having played two seasons for Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Amla has gathered a lot experience of playing against Indian cricketers and has been a prolific run-getter in the T20 league.

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Faf du Plessis is also wary of India’s surge in international cricket. “India have been winning a lot of matches on foreign soil in the recent past. They have started to make that curve of being one of the best Test teams in the world. There was a time when South Africa would be unbeatable at home but I think India would be a tough team to beat even for us.”

Faf picks India captain Virat Kohli as the biggest threat for SA. “Virat Kohli is an aggressive campaigner who leads by example. He sets high standards in all departments. Controlling him will be the key,” said Faf, who would be leading the Stellenbosch-based team in the T20 Global League. “It’s amazing for our cricket, because players don’t need to look outside. They will be taken care of financially, so this will hopefully go a long way towards keeping them happy. South Africa got a bit late in coming up with its own T20 league,” Faf said.

Faf is ready to take over the captaincy of the South Africa ODI team as AB de Villiers has quit. “I have always said that I’m ready to take on the challenge of leading the nation. It would be great to do that,” said Faf, under whom SA have lost only one out of nine series across all formats.

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Amla and Faf will be part of the World XI side that plays three T20s in Pakistan in September. Faf will lead the team that also includes current South African cricketers like Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir and David Miller. Faf supported international cricket returning to Pakistan. “There were some apprehensions about travelling to Pakistan due to security issues. But everthing has been taken care of. It is exciting for Pakistan to see international cricketers converging there for such games.”

When asked if there were concerns on travelling to Pakistan for the World XI game, Amla, said, “I had toured Pakistan 10 years ago. It is an exciting prospect to go there after such a long time. If there were no cricket matches in South Africa for such a long time, imagine what would the fans be feeling and missing. It is good that some cricket is returning to Pakistan. Security was an issue but the PCB and CSA have worked that out.”

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 23:29 IST