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JUST IN: Faf retires from Test cricket

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Faf Du Plessis has played the last of his 69 Tests in Pakistan earlier this month.

Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from Test cricket. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has retired from Test cricket on Wednesday.

This means that Du Plessis has played the last of his 69 Tests in Pakistan earlier this month.

The 36-year-old made his Test debut against Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 2012, where he struck an epic unbeaten 110 from 375 balls in the second innings to salvage a heroic draw for the Proteas. South Africa went on to win the series in the subsequent Test in Perth.

The Proteas were due to face Australia in a three-match series starting later this month, but Cricket Australia opted to postpone the tour at the last minute due to Covid-19 concerns prompting Du Plessis to call time on his Test career.

“I really wanted to finish with the upcoming Test series against Australia. That would have felt like it has all come full circle. I had that clarity of mind and heart and even though the ending is not how I imagined, the clarity remains,” Du Plessis said.

Du Plessis was appointed permanent Test captain in 2016, taking over from his school friend AB de Villiers. He is the only South African captain to lead the Proteas to away (2016) and home (2018) Test series victories over Australia.

His early record as Proteas skipper was exceptional, having won 17 out of 27 Tests prior to 2019. Along with the Australian success, he was also at the helm of the Proteas in a series win over Virat Kohli’s India at home and remains the last visiting captain to lead a team to victory over No 1 ranked Test side New Zealand on the Black Caps’ home patch since 2015.

However, Du Plessis’ Test record as a both a captain and batsman has suffered over the past two years. It is no coincidence it occurred over the same time that Cricket SA underwent arguably its most tumultuous period in its history, with the former captain often carrying the burden of protecting his players from the administrative dramas.

Du Plessis eventually finished with 18 wins from 36 Tests. He struck 4,163 runs at an average of 40.02, which included 21 half-centuries and 10 centuries. He achieved his highest score of 199 in last year’s Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka at his home ground SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Du Plessis will continue to be available for national selection in both whiteball formats, with the veteran still keen to participate at the T20 World Cup scheduled for later this year in India.

Du Plessis and current national team captain Quinton de Kock are the only two contracted Proteas who will not be participating in the T20 Challenge starting on Friday in Durban.

De Kock will be resting after suffering mental fatigue due to a lengthy time spent in various bio bubbles, while Du Plessis will be heading back to the subcontinent to replace West Indies superstar Chris Gayle in the Pakistan Super League.