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Imran Tahir celebrates the fall of another TKR wicket at the Werner Stadium, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.
Imran Tahir celebrates the fall of another TKR wicket at the Werner Stadium, St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.
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Imran Tahir Felt He Deserved More Respect After He Was Axed For 2021 T20I World Cup

Imran Tahir, South Africa’s leg-spinner has said that he felt he deserved a little more respect from the team management who thought of him as worthless. He also said that since Mark Boucher became the head coach, there was no communication with him on plans for the T20 World Cup.

Imran Tahir was one of the three big omissions alongside Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris from South Africa’s squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in Oman and the UAE from October 17 to November 14.

 Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris
Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris-Image AP

Imran Tahir Not Feeling Great After Not Being Picked In South Africa’s T20I Squad For 2021 World Cup

Though Imran Tahir retired from ODIs after the 2019 World Cup, he had made himself available for T20Is. He is South Africa’s second-highest wicket-taker in T20Is with 61 wickets at an economy rate of 6.56. Imran Tahir last featured in a T20I for South Africa in March 2019.

“I am not feeling great that I am not in the squad. Last year Graeme Smith spoke to me and said I want you to play in the World Cup, which was in Australia. I said obviously I am available and excited and honoured because you give me respect. I am ready,” said Tahir in an interview to IOL Sport on Friday.

Temba Bavuma Source: twitter
Temba Bavuma Source: Twitter

“I am working hard and you can see my performances in all these leagues. He said that’s why he wants me. He also said he was going to speak to a few other guys like AB (de Villiers) and Faf (du Plessis). They put me on the Proteas group and everything, but then nobody contacted me,” added Tahir.

“After a few months I texted Smith and Boucher and nobody replied to me. Since Boucher has become coach, he has not contacted me once to tell me what his plans are. It’s really sad man. I served the country for 10 years. I think I deserve a little more respect than these guys thinking I’m worthless.”

The 42-year-old revealed how he tried to reach out to white-ball captain Temba Bavuma, who directed him towards convenor of selectors Victor Mpitsang.

“I spoke to Temba and he said he has a meeting with Boucher the following week. Temba came back to me with a message from Boucher that I must speak to Victor. I again tried to reach him (Mpitsang) and he tried to call me on my WhatsApp number. But he didn’t realize WhatsApp doesn’t work in Dubai. Victor eventually spoke to me and said he will let me know. But then after a couple of months again I heard nothing.”

Imran Tahir said the South African team management hasn’t spoken to him about his future even as he was not picked as part of the 15-member squad for the marquee tournament, starting October 17 in Oman and the UAE. Following the T20 World Cup snub, Imran Tahir has revealed that he hasn’t received a reply from CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith, who wanted the spinner to play the ICC event.

Imran Tahir Wants To Win A World Cup For South Africa

Imran Tahir, currently playing in the Caribbean Premier League, has no plans to retire from international cricket. He is still passionate to represent South Africa in T20Is.

“I want to tell the people of South Africa my story because I played with my heart. Whether people accept me as a South African or not, I am South African. My wife is South African and my family is South African. My child is born in South Africa, so it’s home to me. I have always wanted to win a World Cup for South Africa to say thank you for the opportunity this country has given me, so I am not planning on retiring. I am going to play until 50 if I have to,” concluded Tahir.

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir (Image Credit: BCCI/ Twitter)

Imran Tahir, who retired from ODI cricket after the World Cup in 2019, said he is not planning to retire from the shortest format of the game, adding his dream is to help South Africa win a World Cup.

Imran Tahir has been playing under MS Dhoni at CSK since 2018 in the Indian Premier League and wishes to continue playing for CSK in the near future as well.  Leg-spinner Imran Tahir had finished as the highest wicket-taker in the 2019 IPL. He has so far picked 35 wickets in 27 matches for CSK in the IPL. He has picked 82 scalps overall in IPL in 59 games averaging a decent 20.76.

South Africa squad for T20 World Cup 2021: Temba Bavuma (c), Keshav Maharaj, Quinton de Kock (wk), Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, W Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
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South Africa’s Free Agents Faf du Plessis, Chris Morris And Imran Tahir Left Out Of 15-Member Squad For 2021 T20I World Cup

South Africa will go into this year’s T20 World Cup without experienced T20I specialists Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris besides Imran Tahir, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said on Thursday. Temba Bavuma will lead a 15-man squad which CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith said was “a new group of players, with new heroes to be made.”

The tournament will be played in the United Arab Emirates from October 23 to November 14. The T20I World Cup was last held in 2016 which was won by West Indies.

South Africa's Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith Image Source : ICC
South Africa’s Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith – Image Source: ICC

South Africa’s Director Graeme Smith Opens Up On Discussions About Free Agents- Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, And Faf du Plessis

Graeme Smith said talks had been held with 37-year-old Faf du Plessis but said it was not possible to reach an agreement with the former captain who is now regarded as a “free agent” as he is no longer contracted to CSA.

“When you are working with free agents you have to come together. You have to find that balance that works for both the team and the free agents,” said Smith.

“With Faf in particular we struggled to find that balance.”

Although Faf du Plessis retired from Test cricket last year he said he was available for white-ball cricket and stated that he wanted to play in the next two T20 World Cups. He confirmed before Thursday’s announcement he remained available for selection. Faf du Plessis underlined his credentials by hitting 120 off 60 balls in a Caribbean Premier League match for St Lucia Kings against St Kitts & Nevis Patriots in Basseterre last Saturday.

Chris Morris, 34, signed a record US$2.2-million deal with Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League earlier this year and is regarded as a leading T20 all-rounder. Chris Morris was sold to Rajasthan Royals for a whopping sum of INR 16.25 Cr & became the most expensive player bought in the IPL Auction history. He was the 2nd joint-highest wicket-taker in IPL 2021 before it was postponed with 14 scalps.

 Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris
Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris-Image AP

Graeme Smith said Chris Morris had made himself unavailable to play for South Africa after last representing the country in March 2019. Graeme Smith said veteran leg-spinner Imran Tahir, 42, was another free agent whose participation had been discussed.

“He’s had a great run and he’s still being successful but we’re very confident in the spin bowlers we have available.”

Faf du Plessis made his T20I debut against England in 2012. Since then he has gone on to play fifty T20I matches for the Proteas and scored 1,528 runs at a strike rate of 134.39.

Another notable player to miss out from South Africa’s squad was Janneman Malan, who has scored 241 runs in 11 T20I matches with the highest score of 55 runs since making his debut against Pakistan in 2019. He has also scored 645 runs in 10 ODI matches for South Africa and has shined in domestic cricket as well.

Keshav Maharaj, Uncapped In T20Is Is Included In A Squad Led By Temba Bavuma

Temba Bavuma will captain a young side in the UAE – he is expected to recover from a thumb injury in time for the tournament – that also featured Keshav Maharaj, the left-arm spinner who is yet to play a T20I. Quinton de Kock, David Miller, and Kagiso Rabada are the only players in the squad who played in the 2016 World T20 in India.

Temba Bavuma Source: twitter
Temba Bavuma Source: Twitter

The Proteas instead have gone in Wiaan Mulder and Dwaine Pretorious as all-around options. Meanwhile, George Linde, Andile Phehlikwayo, and Lizaad Williams will travel with the team as reserves. 

Quinton de Kock and Henrich Klaasen are the two wicket-keeping options while David Miller, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram are quality options with the bat. South Africa has gone with a strong pace attack and included Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Lungi Ngidi while Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are the two specialists spinners.

Squad: Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen.

Travelling reserves: George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lizaad Williams.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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Virat Kohli Would End Up Captaining The Most Matches In Cricket History: Sanjay Bangar

Sanjay Bangar, former India batting coach believes that the Indian skipper Virat Kohli will break all the captaincy records, and he would end up captaining more than any other cricketer in the history of the game.

Former India batting coach Sanjay Bangar backed Indian skipper Virat Kohli to smash all the captaincy records. Despite the fact that Virat Kohli is India’s most successful Test captain ever so far, he is yet to win an ICC trophy.

Virat Kohli-led India suffered a comprehensive eight-wicket loss against New Zealand in the recently-concluded World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Sanjay Bangar
Sanjay Bangar

Sanjay Bangar: Virat Kohli Will End Up Being Probably Captaining More Than Any Skipper In Cricket History

Sanjay Bangar, who worked with Team India till the 2019 World Cup, said Virat Kohli would end up captaining more than any other cricketer in the history of the game.

“If as leaders, you have the opportunity to actually dictate the way the culture of the team is and the outcomes that the team derives, then, in that case, all of them (nominees) were in quest of excellence. So is Virat, I do not doubt that he’ll end up being probably captaining more than any other captain in the history of the game,” Sanjay Bangar said in Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Live.’

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

Virar Kohli, who was handed the reins for the final Test match against Australia on the 2014-15 tour, has led India in 61 Tests which is the most by an Indian skipper so far. Under Virat Kohli, India has won 36 Test matches.

In the One Day Internationals, Team India has registered 65 victories from the 95 matches. Virat Kohli has captained the T20I side 45 times, and India has won 27 matches. Under Virat Kohli, India has been the most consistent Test side over the past five years.

Virat Kohli’s Predecessor MS Dhoni Has Captained In Most International Matches

MS Dhoni has led India in 332 international matches and India won 178 of those. The likes of Ricky Ponting (324), Stephen Fleming (303), Graeme Smith (286), Allan Border (271), Arjuna Ranatunga( 249), and Mohammed Azharuddin (221) have captained in more international matches than Virat Kohli (201).

Virat Kohli’s predecessor MS Dhoni has captained in most international matches from 2007 to 2018 before retiring on August 15, 2020, from international matches.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni. Aijaz Rahi / AP
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni. Aijaz Rahi / AP

While MS Dhoni won 27 Test matches as captain and lost 18 in his 60 games in charge, Virat Kohli is also India’s most successful Test captain with 36 wins and 14 losses.

Virat Kohli is also the longest-serving Test captain for any Asian country with Sri Lanka’s Arjuna Ranatunga and Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq behind him as they captained their respective teams in 56 Test matches each. Virat Kohli has led India to victory in all the 11 Test series at home since taking over and has won in West Indies, Sri Lanka, and twice in Australia. He has a win percentage of 63.68.

Ab de Villiers
Ab de Villiers.
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AB de Villiers Likely To Play For South Africa In 5 Matches T20I Series Against Windies

AB de Villiers, a former South Africa legendary batsman is likely to take a u-turn from retirement and play for the national team in the 5-match T20I series against West Indies.

The former South African batsman Mr. 360 truly mesmerized the international cricketing spectrum with his stupendous performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

AB De Villiers
AB De Villiers. Image Credits: Twitter

AB De Villiers, Chris Morris, And Imran Tahir In Line To Play For South Africa Again

Despite the fact that he doesn’t play cricket for the national team, he has been categorized as the finest batsman in T20 cricket at present. While it’s been known for a while that the former Proteas skipper has been willing to come out of retirement any time soon, the moment could finally arrive in the 5 matches T20I series between South Africa and West Indies.

AB De Villiers hung up his boots in 2018, bringing an end to his illustrious 15-year-old cricketing career for South Africa but since last year, the talismanic batsman has been speaking about making a u-turn. AB de Villiers had made his intentions of playing in the upcoming T20 World Cup public last year but the tournament got postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chris Morris
Chris Morris (Image Credit: Twitter)

With this year’s T20 World Cup expected to remain on schedule, AB De Villiers is understandably interested to make his international return and feature in the showpiece event.

When asked about his plans about the same during an IPL 2021 match, De Villiers had said: “It will be fantastic to play for South Africa again, I will be speaking with Boucher late end of IPL – last year, he asked me whether I am interested and I said ‘absolutely.”

As per reports, Cricket South Africa Director Graeme Smith has reportedly hinted towards the return of AB De Villiers as well as Chris Morris and Imran Tahir for the national team’s T20I series against West Indies. South Africa is reportedly set to travel to the Caribbean on June 02 and will lock horns in a 5-match T20I series.

Graeme Smith said he is hopeful of “free agents” AB de Villiers, Imran Tahir, and Chris Morris returning in South Africa colours next month. He also confirmed that South Africa will be playing a two-match Test series and a 5-game T20I series against West Indies in June.

AB De Villiers Is An Asset For RCB : Virat Kohli

AB De Villiers was doing wonders for his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 14th edition of the league before it was indefinitely postponed. Despite batting at No. 4 or No. 5 for RCB, AB De Villiers was among the top run-scorers for his side. He had aggregated 207 runs in 6 innings at an average of 51.75 at a highly impressive strike rate of 164.28.

AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli
AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli

Even RCB skipper Virat Kohli admitted being surprised at how AB De Villiers manages to perform at the requisite level despite not playing cricket regularly.

“AB doesn’t like me saying this, but he hasn’t played competitive cricket for 5 months, but if you look at him bat it doesn’t feel like he doesn’t play international cricket anymore. Hats off to him, keeps doing it again and again for us. Such an asset for us. I’ll say this again (smiles). He hasn’t played for five months, just watch that inning,” Kohli had said after De Villiers’ 75 helped the franchise beat Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021.

AB De Villiers has 5056 runs in his IPL career playing 176 matches averaging 40.77 at an impressive strike rate of 152.38. He has scored 3 tons and 40 fifties. He is the 6th highest run-scorer in IPL. AB De Villiers averages above 50 in both Tests and ODIs but he will certainly try to make amends to his below-par average of 26.12 in 78 T20Is where he amassed 1672 runs.

South Africa's Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith Image Source : ICC
South Africa's Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith Image Source : ICC
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It’s In South African Players Hands To Stay Or Not But CSA Offer Support: Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith, South Africa’s Director of Cricket on Monday said that the country’s cricket board has offered support to their players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 after positive Covid-19 cases were reported in the league. However, Graeme Smith said the players have been given the choice to decide about their stay in India, which has been badly hit by the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

There are as many as 11 South African players featuring in the IPL 2021. None of them are part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad though as the franchise had two positive Covid-19 cases on Monday. However, the likes of Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, and Imran Tahir are part of Chennai Super Kings whose bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji tested positive on Monday.

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir (Image Credit: Twitter)

Graeme Smith Offered Support To Players But It’s In Their Hands To Make A Choice To Stay Or Not For IPL

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the BCCI has asked Delhi Capitals to isolate themselves after their match against KKR on April 29. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje are integral members of the Delhi unit, which is at the top of the IPL 2021 points table.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com

“We’ve offered support to the players and made ourselves available to them should there be any concerns,” Cricket SA’s Director of Cricket Graeme Smith was quoted as saying by iol.co.za.

“Ultimately, it is in their hands to make a choice (continued participation).”

Notably, as many as 3 Australian players namely Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, and Adam Zampa left India before the Australian government closed its borders for citizens heading back from India in a much-criticized move. New Zealand has also banned flights from India but South Africa has kept its borders open with travellers needing to submit a negative test report within 72 hours of travelling.

11 South African Players Are Participating In The IPL 2021

A COVID-19 outbreak left the star-sprinkled IPL on tenterhooks as Kolkata Knight Riders’ Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for the dreaded virus, forcing a postponement of their game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, while cases also came to light in the Chennai Super Kings camp.

Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada. Image Credits: Twitter

As many as 11 South African players, including former white-ball skipper Quinton de Kock, pacer Kagiso Rabada and former captain Faf du Plessis, are currently participating in the IPL for various teams. While there are no Proteas players in KKR, Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, and Imran Tahir play for Chennai, whose bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji and a bus driver have tested positive.

Virat Kohli (pictured left) surpassed Ricky Ponting (pictured right) as the fastest player to score 10,000 runs on home soil.(Getty Images)
Virat Kohli (pictured left) surpassed Ricky Ponting (pictured right) as the fastest player to score 10,000 runs on home soil.(Getty Images)
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Virat Kohli Is The 2nd Player To Score 10,000 Runs At No. 3

Virat Kohli became only the second player in the history of cricket to score over 10,000 runs batting at No.3 position. He achieved the feat during the 2nd ODI against England at Pune, as the Indian skipper registered his 105th fifty-plus score (62 fifties and 43 hundred).

En route to the excellent knock he completed 10,000 ODI runs and is now second only to Australian great Ricky Ponting, who had scored 12662 runs in 330 innings batting at No.3.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

Virat Kohli Reached The Milestone To Score 10,000 Runs At No. 3 In His 190th ODI Innings At That Position

Virat Kohli has opened in six ODIs scoring 161 runs. He has batted at No.3 in 192 ODIs scoring 10046 runs. At No.4 he has 1767 runs from 42 matches and at No.5 he has scored 127 runs in five matches. At No. 6, he has scored an unbeaten 23* in 1 inning and 38 runs in 4 innings batting at No.7.

The Indian skipper reached the milestone in his 190th ODI innings with an average of over 60. He eventually got out for 66 off 79 balls to Adil Rashid, extending his century drought to 490 days now.

England leg-spinner Adil Rashid
England leg-spinner Adil Rashid. Twitter

Third on the list of most ODI runs, batting at No.3 is Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara with 9747 runs in 238 innings, followed by Jacques Kallis with 7774 runs in 200 innings and Kane Williamson with 5421 runs in 117 innings. Australia’s Dean Jones is fifth with 5100 runs from 131 innings.

Virat Kohli Had Earlier Surpassed Graeme Smith In The List Of Most ODI Runs As Skipper

Earlier, Virat Kohli had surpassed former South Africa captain Graeme Smith in the list of most ODI runs scored as captain. Needing 41 runs to surpass Graeme Smith’s ODI tally of 5416 runs in 150 ODIs as captain, Virat Kohli got to the milestone in 50 balls.

Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com
Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com

Ricky Ponting leads the list of maximum run-scorers with 8497 runs in his 234 ODIs as captain, followed by former Indian keeper ex-skipper MS Dhoni with 6641 runs in 200 ODIs as captain. Former skippers Stephen Fleming and Arjuna Ranatunga are in the third and fourth spots. Virat Kohli has over 12,000 runs in over 240 appearances in ODIs averaging nearly 60.

India was put in to bat by Jos Buttler-led England. India scored 336/6 in 50 overs with KL Rahul top-scoring with 108. Virat Kohli scored 66 and Rishabh Pant played a whirlwind inning of 77 off only 40 balls.

This was also the first time since February 2020 KL Rahul has got an international hundred. It was the first time KL Rahul has scored a hundred while batting at No. 4 in ODIs. KL Rahul, who also has a hundred at No. 5, has been proving to be a top player for India in the middle-order despite not naturally suited to playing in the middle overs.

Virat Kohli, Graeme Smith - File Photo , Reuters & AFP
Virat Kohli, Graeme Smith - File Photo , Reuters & AFP
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Virat Kohli Becomes 5th Highest ODI Run Scorer As A Skipper After Surpassing Graeme Smith

Virat Kohli surpassed former South Africa opener and ex-skipper Graeme Smith in the list of most ODI runs by a captain during the ongoing 2nd ODI against England in Pune.

India captain Virat Kohli on Friday added another feather to his already-illustrious cap as he surpassed former Protea skipper Graeme Smith to become the fifth-highest run-scorer as a captain in the 50-overs format during the ongoing second ODI against England in Pune.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)

Virat Kohli Overtook Graeme Smith With Most Runs As Captain In ODIs

The Indian captain overtook the former opener, Graeme Smith, on the list of batsmen with the most runs as captain in ODI cricket when he went past the former South Africa skipper’s tally of 5,416 runs. The Indian skipper was playing his 94th ODI match as captain of India while Graeme Smith had got to the tally in 150 matches. The Indian skipper reached the milestone in the 24th over of the second ODI at Pune.

Graeme Smith Getty Images
Graeme Smith Getty Images

Before the 2nd ODI, Virat Kohli was only 41 runs away from going past former South Africa opener Graeme Smith in the list of most ODI runs by a captain. The No.1 in the list of most ODI runs as captain is former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, who has amassed 8497 runs in his 234 ODIs as captain. The Australia legend is followed by former India captain MS Dhoni who is at No.2 with 6641 runs in 200 ODIs as a skipper.

Virat Kohli Also Became 4th Batsman To Complete 5000 ODI Runs At Home

However, Virat Kohli has the best average and strike rate combination in that elite list. Virat Kohli is the only one in the elite list to average more than 70 in ODI cricket as captain. His strike of 98.55 is also better than most batsmen.

KL Rahul hit his 5th ODI hundred, first vs England in Pune (AP Photo)
KL Rahul hit his 5th ODI hundred, first vs England in Pune (AP Photo)

Virat Kohli, who was dismissed for 56 in the previous ODI, can also become only the 4th batsman to complete 5,000 ODI runs at home after Sachin Tendulkar (6976), Ricky Ponting (5406), and Jacques Kallis (5178).

India put into bat by Jos Buttler-led England scored 336/6 in 50 overs with KL Rahul top-scoring with 108. Virat Kohli scored 66 and Rishabh Pant played a whirlwind inning of 77 off only 40 balls.

This was also the first time since February 2020 KL Rahul has got an international hundred. It was the first time KL Rahul has scored a hundred while batting at No. 4 in ODIs. KL Rahul, who also has a hundred at No. 5, has been proving to be a top player for India in the middle-order despite not naturally suited to playing in the middle overs.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 29: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis talks with ex captain Graeme Smith ahead of their opening ICC CRricket World Cup match against England at The Oval on May 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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Faf Du Plessis Has Been A Prolific Scorer In Tests And To Lose Him Will Leave A Big Gap: Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith, Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Director of Cricket, on Wednesday, said that with Faf du Plessis retiring, from Tests there would be a big gap in the Proteas Test side.

Graeme Smith’s remarks came as former Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis announced his retirement from the longest format of the game on Wednesday to focus on the next two T20 World Cups.

Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com
Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com

Graeme Smith: Faf Du Plessis Has Been A Prolific Cricketer And His Absence Will Leave A Big Gap In Proteas Team

Faf Du Plessis, who recently featured in the two-match Test series against Pakistan, represented South Africa in 69 fixtures in Test cricket. The former South African skipper amassed 4163 Test runs averaging 40.02. He hit 10 centuries and 21 half-centuries in the longest format of the game. Graeme Smith said CSA respected his decision to retire from Tests at 36 years of age after playing 69 Tests.

“Faf has been a prolific Test cricketer for the Proteas for a number of years now and to lose him in this format is going to leave another big gap in the team. His commitment to the team has always been undoubtedly and his transparency with Cricket South Africa about his plans has always been appreciated and we respect his decision, knowing he would not have come by it easily,” said Graeme Smith in an official release.

“I would like to thank Faf on behalf of CSA for his years of service and dedication to the Proteas’ Test team and we look forward to engaging further with him on how he can continue contributing to the team in a meaningful way,” Graeme Smith added.

Faf du Plessis. (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)
Faf du Plessis. (Photo by CHRISTIAAN KOTZE/AFP via Getty Images)

Faf Du Plessis didn’t have a good outing with the bat in Pakistan. He scored 55 runs in four innings as South Africa faced a crushing 2-0 defeat in the Test series. Graeme Smith thanked Faf Du Plessis for contributing to South Africa’s success. Graeme Smith said CSA will look forward if he can contribute to the team in another department.

“It has been a year of refinement in the fire for us all. Uncertain were the times, but they brought clarity for me in many respects. My heart is clear and the time is right to walk into a new chapter. It has been an honour to play for my country in all the formats of the game, but the time has come for me to retire from Test cricket,” Du Plessis said in his Instagram post.

“If someone had told me 15 years ago, that I would play 69 Test matches for South Africa and captain the side, I wouldn’t have believed them. I stand in a place of utmost gratitude for a test career full of blessings bestowed on me. Every high and low has shaped me into the man I am proud to stand as today. In all things, those instances worked towards the good of who I believe I am today,” he added.

Faf Du Plessis played 143 ODIs and 50 ODIs besides featuring in 69 Tests and eventually finished with 18 wins from 36 Tests as skipper.

Faf Du Plessis Who Debuted In Tests Against Australia Want To Focus On Next 2 T20 World Cups In Next Two Years

The right-handed batsman, who also plays for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the India Premier League (IPL), wants to focus on the two upcoming T20I World Cups slated to be held in India and Australia respectively. Faf Du Plessis plays for Chennai Super Kings in IPL since 2011 except in two years 2016 and 2017 when he played for defunct Rising Pune Supergiants when CSK was banned for the alleged role in spot-fixing.

“The next two years are ICC T20 World cup years. Because of this, my focus is shifting to this format and I want to play as much of it as possible around the world so that I can be the best player I can possibly be. I strongly believe that I have a lot to offer to Proteas in this format. This does not mean that ODI cricket is no longer in the plans, I’m just making T20 cricket the priority in the short-term,” said Du Plessis.

He made his Test debut against Australia at Adelaide in November 2012. He scored an impressive 78 in the first innings and hit a valiant century- – a classy unbeaten 110 from 375 balls in the second innings to salvage a heroic draw for the Proteas in the second essay.

Faf du Plessis. FILE - Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Faf du Plessis. FILE – Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The right-handed batsman announced himself unequivocally in the format when he scored 78 and 110 not-out on debut against Australia, becoming and remaining the only South African to have scored a half-century and century on Test debut.

His unbeaten 110 in the fourth innings of that match also remains the longest a South African has batted in the fourth innings of a Test match, at 466 minutes. The Pretoria-born right-hander, who 12 months ago relinquished the captaincy, produced one of his best innings for South Africa as recently as seven weeks ago when he scored career-best 199 in their first Test match of the summer against Sri Lanka at his home ground in Centurion.

Temba Bavuma Source: twitter
Temba Bavuma Source: twitter
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Cricket South Africa Confirms Proteas Will Embark On Tour Of Ireland In July 2021

Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday confirmed that the Proteas will embark on a historic first full limited-overs tour of Ireland in July 2021.

The matches are scheduled to be played from July 11-25 and will comprise of three ODIs that will form part of the ICC’s Cricket World Cup Super League (CWCSL) program, and three T20Is, with the games played in Malahide and Stormont. Cricket South Africa’s Director of Cricket thanked Cricket Ireland for their willingness to adapt to the tour.

Faf du Plessis of South Africa in a World Cup Match against Ireland © Getty Images
Faf du Plessis of South Africa in a World Cup match against Ireland © Getty Images

Cricket South Africa Director Graeme Smith: Pleased To Finalize Dates And Thanks To Cricket Ireland For Cooperation And Willingness To Adapt Tour Schedule

It is the first time the Proteas will tour Ireland for more than one game, with their only other visit being in June 2007 when they played an ODI in Belfast.

“We are extremely pleased to have finalised the dates as quickly as we have and for that we would like to thank Cricket Ireland for their cooperation and willingness to adapt the tour schedule as we continue to finalize our winter programme,” commented Cricket South Africa Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith.

“The tour marks a significant new chapter in our history as we visit one of the fast-developing cricket nations for a six-match tour. Ireland have showed themselves to be highly competitive adversaries in recent years, with growing profile in the world game. It will also offer our players further international action in unfamiliar conditions, so we are looking forward to the contest,” he added.

Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com
Cricket South Africa Graeme Smith Source: Bloomberg www.bloomberg.com

Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, added: “Given the significant changes to the Future Tours Programme due to the postponement of home series’ from 2020 – and all other countries having to reschedule fixtures over the period 2020-2023 – it has truly been a jigsaw puzzle for world cricket administrators to try to make the pieces fit.”

“We look forward to the season ahead and thank our touring opponents for working with us on this restructured season. For our senior men, there are six World Cup Super League matches included in the schedule, in which we welcome back South Africa who last played here 14 years ago.”

Cricket South Africa’s Graeme Smith said Ireland have shown themselves to be highly competitive opponents in recent years, with a growing profile in the world game.

South Africa Played 5 ODIs Against Ireland And Won All Of Them But Haven’t Met Each Other In T20Is

The Proteas have played and beaten Ireland in all of the five ODIs over the years, including meetings at 2007, 2011, and 2015 ICC Cricket World Cups. Their last showdown against each other was during a one-match tour to South Africa by the Irish in 2016.

South Africa have won their first ODI against Ireland in the 2007 World Cup by seven wickets, the second one by 42 runs in 2007, third at 2011 World Cup by 131 runs, fourth at 2015 World Cup by 201 runs, and fifth in 2017 by 206 runs.

Hashim Amla scored his 20th ODI ton and became the fastest to achieve the feat against Ireland. (Source: AP)
Hashim Amla scored his 20th ODI ton and became the fastest to achieve the feat against Ireland. (Source: AP)

The two teams haven’t played a T20I match against each other. In the 2015 World Cup, Hashim Amla scored 159 and Faf du Plessis scored 109. In 2017, Temba Bavuma scored 113 in ODIs.

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Cricket South Africa Writes To ICC Terming Australia’s Decision To Postpone Tour Against Sportsmanship

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has written to the International Cricket Council (ICC), terming Australia’s decision against the spirit of sportsmanship following Australia’s decision to postpone their Test tour of South Africa.

After initially agreeing to visit South Africa for three Tests, Cricket Australia (CA) recently decided to postpone the tour, citing ‘unacceptable’ coronavirus risk.

Cricket South Africa Writes To ICC Terming Australia's Decision To Postpone Tour Against Sportsmanship 1Cricket South Africa Asked ICC To Consider Financial Losses That Less Wealthy Cricket Board Incurs

According to a report in ESPNCricinfo, the Cricket South Africa letter also claims that Australia’s decision to pull out will raise questions over the credibility of the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC). With the Australia-South Africa series postponed, New Zealand became the first team to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) with either England, India, or Australia meeting the Kiwi in the final at Lords.

Cricket South Africa Writes To ICC Terming Australia's Decision To Postpone Tour Against Sportsmanship 2Further, CSA has also asked the ICC to consider the financial losses that less wealthy cricket boards have to incur when planned tours do not take place or get postponed. The report further added that while the CSA has not lodged a formal complaint about the matter, the letter to ICC is a “means of opening communication about finding the best possible outcome to maintain international cricket schedule during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

While announcing the decision to postpone the tour, Cricket Australia had explained that traveling from Australia to South Africa at this current time would have been an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to the visiting cricketers and Nick Hockley termed not touring the African country disappointing.

CA’s Interim CEO, Nick Hockley, had said on the matter: “We all knew the rules going in and I think that’s what’s made this decision really, really hard. We’ve done everything we possibly can to make the tour go ahead but in the end, we had to listen to the overwhelming medical advice, so we won’t be pursuing that with the ICC, but it’s just another reason why not being able to tour is so disappointing.”

Cricket South Africa Writes To ICC Terming Australia's Decision To Postpone Tour Against Sportsmanship 3Reacting to Australia’s decision to pull out, former skipper and Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Director of Cricket Graeme Smith expressed disappointment. Graeme Smith said Cricket South Africa had been working very hard to try and meet all of Cricket Australia’s expectations.

He was quoted as saying in a Cricket South Africa release: “We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA. CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA. This was set to be the longest tour in a BSE comprising a three-match Test series that was scheduled to begin with Australia’s arrival later in the month. So to be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating.”

Meanwhile, South Africa went down to Pakistan by 95 runs in the Rawalpindi Test to concede the two-match series 0-2. Hasan Ali picked 10 wickets in the 2nd Test while Fawad Alam scored 109 in the 1st Test at Karachi which Pakistan won by 7 wickets.

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