HE IS tipped to captain the South African team in all three formats and Faf du Plessis says he’s ready for the challenge. There’s also the short tour to Pakistan next month where he’s been picked to lead a World XI team. As Cricket South Africa gears up towards hosting its inaugural Global T20 League, du Plessis talks about leadership, his concern for international cricket losing top players to T20 leagues, and shares his thoughts about India’s tour to South Africa in a few months’ time. Excerpts.
How prepared are you to take over as the South African captain in all three formats?
I always said that I enjoy captaining, so it’s something that I feel brings the best out of me. As a young leader, I wanted to try and speak to as many of them as possible. I saw MS (Dhoni) closely during the IPL. I had a conversation with Stephen Fleming on captaincy and playing under Graeme Smith has helped.
With so many leagues coming up, including the GT20, don’t you think top cricketers will be tempted to make a choice between club and the country?
I think it’s a big challenge for ICC on how they are going to make sure that cricket does not bleed too much by losing out on its best players. We see that with West Indies, who can’t stop their bleeding and it’s affected their cricket a lot. As a country, it’s important how you pay players, so the onus is on every cricket boards to ensure their players don’t leave.
You will be leading a World XI team that will tour Pakistan?
I see a great opportunity for us to play in Pakistan and bring cricket back to that country. It’s important for fans to watch Pakistan playing in Pakistan. I can understand that coming from South Africa. To be honest with you, I was in two minds about travelling to Pakistan. I wanted to be sure about the security structure there.
India will be travelling to SA in a few months. How do you see that series panning out?
Indian tour is huge for us. They had a very short series here last time whereas we were there for a long time. This is going to be a very good tour because this Indian team has started to play a lot better away from home. Before they were unbeatable at home but you could run through them in your own conditions. They have started to make that curve towards becoming the best team, for which you have to play well away from home. They will be a real challenge for us.
How do you see Virat Kohli as captain?
He is an aggressive captain… someone who leads by example. He leads with energy, and his leadership style is one based on performance.
– The writer is in Cape Town on the invitation of Cricket South Africa