Faf du Plessis has said that the reason he decided to retire from playing in test matches was because of a rift in his relationship with the departing head coach of the South African men’s national team, Mark Boucher.
Du Plessis Offered His Services
When du Plessis made himself available for the Twenty20 team after he retires from the Test team in February 2021, he claimed in his autobiography Faf:
Through Fire that Boucher, Graeme Smith, the former director of cricket for the CSA, and Victor Mpitsang, the convener of selectors, did not consider him for the team.
In the book, du Plessis reflects on a difficult childhood, a career in the shadow of his best friend AB de Villiers, and South Africa’s 2015 and 2019 World Cup heartaches.
His elevation to national captain, and his eventual exit from the role, were driven by Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) lack of soft skills in the latter stages of his career. He talks about being the national captain and leaving the position.
Du Plessis started filming his final stages with the national squad when Boucher took over for a series against England in December 2019. The last chapter begins with “The Ghosts of Insecurity.”
Du Plessis says this edition of the series “felt different” from the previous one since he didn’t feel like Boucher had his back throughout media harassment.
Du Plessis was asked before the second test why he dropped Temba Bavuma.
Bavuma’s race went unnoticed. Du Plessis’ incendiary comments revealed he didn’t comprehend South Africa’s past. In his post, he said Smith or Boucher didn’t support him, forming their friendship.
“Graeme and Mark were best positioned to back their national captain, who faced headwinds and tailwinds. Needed media. Mark stayed indoors during the storm “Plessis”
Boucher later questioned du Plessis about his national team’s future. Since 2023 is almost three years away, he resigned as ODI captain. Boucher encouraged du Plessis to retire as Twenty20 captain, but he was “not sure.”
The Resignation Request from Boucher
Du Plessis thought Boucher’s request to resign was “advice.” Du Plessis “worried Mark and I wasn’t connecting” According to him, “cold and aloof” and “close to Dean and Quinny” (de Kock).
Smith and Boucher “felt strongly about choosing Quinny (as white-ball captain)” “occurrence He felt like “losing my role as a group leader” after the England series.
After the series, du Plessis decided it would be “better for the team to have a new captain than someone who couldn’t connect with the coach.” “Mark and I didn’t mesh,” he said. On February 17, 2020, he resigned as Test captain but continued playing and “leading without a title.”
This chapter details the year du Plessis spent after standing down as captain and before retiring from Test cricket during the Covid-19 pandemic. When South Africa faced Sri Lanka at home and in Pakistan, Du Plessis said his relationship with Boucher was “purely commercial.”
Boucher’s expertise helped him. South Africa played in Pakistan during the time. After reaching 199 against Sri Lanka, he struggled in Pakistan and realized “my enthusiasm for playing Tests for South Africa was gone.”
Du Plessis says a first-Test incident prompted him to quit. South Africa took the lead by one run in the second innings after falling behind by 158 in the first. Keshav Maharaj was preparing for his night watch duty as the day’s games ended.
Du Plessis said South Africa Sent a Night Watch
According to du Plessis, the South Africans would send in a night watch if a wicket fell with less than 30 minutes, or seven overs left. According to Boucher’s book, a night watch is only sent out 15 minutes before closure.
Rassie van der Dussen was removed 25 minutes before the end of the day, therefore Du Plessis had to bat and walk out. Du Plessis was pulled after 20 minutes with 5 minutes left.
“By the time I left the field, I was fuming. A key batter had just been lost to a mistake in strategy. I decided that I needed some time to collect my thoughts before talking about it with Mark since I was feeling too emotional at the moment “Currently, he’s in the writing phase.
After setting Pakistan a goal of 88 the day before, South Africa went on to lose the match. During our post-game discussion, I expressed my concern with our strategy.
A nightwatchman has been an available option for the batter for the last decade, and I thought it would be good to bring this up for discussion. When asked about my thoughts, I admitted that I welcomed debate on the topic.
Although I had considered the nightwatchman a strategic asset, I was willing to compromise with the group’s preferred option “du Plessis pens the text. “Our hitting squad overwhelmingly favored having the option of a night watchman.
Mark argued back, stating that fifteen minutes before the finish of play was the standard in his day, but I don’t recall it. The idea of not having to bat in the dark was always a hit with Graeme, [Jacques] Kallis, and AB, all of whom I had played with before.”
Mark Brought Up Our Earlier Dispute
Du Plessis and Boucher were disgusted. Mark brought up the fight we had before when talking about my possible participation in the T20 World Cup in 2021. He said he didn’t like how I questioned him on the night watchman.
When someone who wasn’t a friend questioned me, I saw it as a show of respect. My view “Text by du Plessis.
Du Plessis informed Smith he was retiring after the tour and phoned Boucher to arrange a meeting. He ignored my message after hearing the news. The fact that he said nothing to discourage my retirement was encouraging.
Du Plessis was also in the process of securing a long-term place in the Twenty20 squad in preparation for the T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022.
It was important to Du Plessis that he be able to participate in T20 competitions outside of his national responsibilities while still being able to play T20s on a contract basis for the national team.
Simply put, du Plessis requested that CSA do something it had never done before: issue a contract solely for Twenty20 Internationals. Smith promised du Plessis he would investigate the idea.
After some deliberation, the CSA board determined it would not grant T20I-only contracts, but it was still considering playing du Plessis in the 2021 T20 World Cup if he featured in at least 65% of the national matches.
Faf du Plessis wanted a “formal offer that would enable me to compete in fewer tournaments” after discovering his IPL deal “wasn’t enough to meet all my financial responsibilities” He feels Smith rejected his remark request, therefore he moved on to another league opportunities.
Du Plessis says he didn’t stop there, but on May 11, 2021, he “Requested greater contact from Graeme, Mark, and Victor Mpitsang. I said AB’s World Cup absence was due to a communication breakdown. I hoped for no repeats.
What did they expect from a World Cup-bound unsigned player?” After being selected to succeed Linda Zondi in 2020, Du Plessis stated they had not spoken with Mpitsang.
He writes: “Working with CSA was like dating someone who didn’t appreciate you as much as themselves. It made things more difficult than they should have been, so I worked harder to foster better communication.
Their efforts helped me understand that attending the World Cup wasn’t in the cards.” Du Plessis is a major contender in local competitions throughout the world despite missing the 2021 and ’22 T20 World Cups. CSA won’t comment until it reads du Plessis’ book.