On Sunday evening, Faf du Plessis played a terrific, match-winning knock against Mumbai Indians at the raucous M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, taking his side Royal Challengers Bangalore to a thumping 8-wicket victory.
Around the same time, the South African national team was fighting for a direct qualification for the World Cup 2023, taking on the Netherlands at home in a must-win encounter. While South Africa swept aside the Dutch, courtesy of a whirlwind century from new skipper Aiden Markram, many fans wondered why Faf du Plessis doesn’t play for his country anymore.
There is no doubt about du Plessis’ form and fitness – the 38-year-old has been in prime form in the past year, bossing various T20 leagues around the world and he’s one of the fittest and agile cricketers in the world despite being aging.
So, this makes it even more of an intriguing fact as to why Faf du Plessis doesn’t play for South Africa now and it leaves the fans scratching their heads for the same.
Faf du Plessis last played for South Africa in January 2021
His last game for his country was a Test match in Pakistan. He last played ODI cricket in the 2019 World Cup and his last T20I was in December 2020.
Once he’d decided to not play for South Africa anymore, Faf du Plessis had remained unavailable for selection.
Why Faf du Plessis doesn’t play for South Africa?
It is believed that Faf du Plessis and Cricket South Africa (CSA) couldn’t come to an agreement over his contract. With the T20 leagues offering lucrative amounts of the star players, the CSA, who were already going through a financial crisis, couldn’t match the kind of money that the T20 franchises paid to Du Plessis.
South Africa’s international schedule often collides with these major T20 leagues. And so when CSA couldn’t match Faf du Plessis’ demands – of money and of being a free agent to play for the national side only on his terms, like AB de Villiers did toward the end of his international career – the CSA and Faf had to part ways.
“I think they wanted people that are available all the time. That made it a challenge for the guys like myself and Imran Tahir, because we were playing overseas [franchise leagues] as well. So I think that’s the challenge now, because we are playing overseas, if they don’t want us to play all the games, it’s probably an unrealistic expectation,” du Plessis had remarked after the 2021 T20 World Cup.
Is Faf du Plessis retired from international cricket?
Faf du Plessis retired from Test cricket in February 2021 but remained available for selection in white-ball formats. However, he was not picked for any matches including the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cups in spite of his terrific form in leagues across the world.
CSA are now pondering over handing out single-format contracts, which could mean that Faf du Plessis makes a return to South Africa’s T20I team with the 2024 T20 World Cup in mind.