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Why Faf Du Plessis is the man for South Africa now?

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It’s almost like the class teacher taking an early morning attendance of the day wherein, if shes’ on the Cricket ground, she yells out the following, “Batsman?” The voice, replies, “Present!” She further asks, “captain?” The voice says, “Present!” Then, she asks, “Can captain and lead and bat both?”, to this, the voice replies, “Of course, ma’am!”
Finally, the teacher asks, “can hold on to a partnership, hit hundreds, rotate the strike and play a great knock under pressure?” And then, the voice contends, offering assurance, “For sure, ma’am!”

To be fair to Faf Du Plessis, in the final ODI against Australia,

it seemed, given the right-hander’s passion, that for a second, had he been asked by his opponents to carry the drinks for both teams during the interval, he would’ve done smilingly so.
Had he been asked by his vanquished, the unit he clubbed for boundaries for the better part of the day, to buy everyone in the ground a drink, he would’ve done so.
He was so giving as a player; he was so affectionately in the contest. This is when, Faf Du Plessis was batting under pressure, in a peak final, against Australia, in Australia. Hobart is a few thousands’ miles off South Africa. It’s nothing like the Proteas’ domicile.
Faf Du Plessis wasn’t just a fine batsman out at Hobart on November 11, 2018. He was, a track leader, a marathon runner, ready to run the long distance if you like.
He didn’t seem to have sweat glands, it seemed. He didn’t panic. He wasn’t breathless. His gym-toned, chiselled frame with those familiar forearms and biceps held on to the bat as if a Formula 1 driver out to set a hot fast lap.

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In the end, it did seem, Faf Du Plessis was in a bit of a hurry

His 125 came off 114.
He struck 4 sixes. He carved 15 boundaries.
His strike rate was 109, like that of a top-grade scorer in school who hates not scoring 100 out of 100 in all subjects.
That Faf’s tenth ODI hundred came in a do or die, a final against Australia wasn’t the only thing worth lauding.
That he was the captain, the man-in-charge of his team’s fate, the most experienced batsman in a side contesting in the absence of stalwarts like De Villiers- recently retired- and Amla- dropped- underlined his achievement.
It spoke of the man he truly is; the spirit beyond the flesh and bones and the incredibly charming, very Joaquin Phoenix-like smile.
Thank god, there was Miller for the company.

David Miller was the Ice to Faf Du Plessis’s fire

centuries from Faf and Miller gave South Africa the series winning victory (Image: The National)

But Hobart’s hundred was an exhibition of the fury of Faf brought out for fans.
It was an inning where every shot was laced with passion; nothing diluted, whatsoever.
It’s just that Faf’s fury is contagious. He isn’t the most glorious stroke-maker like Virat.
His batting doesn’t provide the levitation that Lara’s batting does.
Yet, there’s this indescribable thing about Faf Du Plessis’ batting that can’t be put into words, can it?
Still, it prompts you into a try.
Would it be too far-fetched to suggest that while Miller’s hits, cold-blooded that they are, scare you away, sending you into a hideout, Faf’s shots bring you out from the hiding?
You feel sorry for the bowler if you are Miller the killer batsman. But you wished to congratulate Faf if you were bowling to him.

Faf Du Plessis’s batting is like a full-length dive into an Olympic pool.

The kind of joy it fetches fans is equivalent of the big splash such a heroic dive showers. Remember, it’s not a sprinkle.
But let’s not get carried away by histrionics. Probably this is what was great about that 125 off just 114 deliveries, a knock that notched up a vital, eventually, decisive hundred off 180 minutes at the crease.
It didn’t come against a weak bowling attack. This wasn’t a Carlos Brathwaite or Fabien Allen bowling to the South African captain. This wasn’t a Khaleel Ahmed or Bhuvaneshwar Kumar trying to bowl in a quicker one. He was up against Starc, Cummins, Hazlewood- the trio responsible for 283 ODI wickets between them.
And maybe what endears Faf to his fans is that he plays according to the game’s situation. He wasn’t the swashbuckling batsman pressed by the need to score quickly against Australia a few months ago in Sri Lanka.
No one was in form in his team back then. Yet, on a pitch where the Proteas didn’t seem to find any fire, Faf’s hot streak came through a disciplined show with the bat. No real risks against Herath. Nothing too ballsy against Kumara and company.
On the same pitches where an Amla and Markram failed to get going, Faf constantly answered through those 40s. His determination was expressed in his silence. No wild shots. Minimal risk-taking.

But against Australia, it was Faf the chameleon

Faf, as always, was pleasing to watch (Image: News18.com)

He figured it out quite early on at Hobart that they were bowling to him like headless chickens. Why would you constantly over-pitch to someone like a Faf Du Plessis, who’s so quick to dislodge anything bowled to him on his pads?
Why would you bowl at good length, or outside off?
If one were to understand, in essence, who Faf Du Plessis was then his one-handed flat swat over deep extra cover that landed, at least, a couple of rows back for a six explained it.
Come the World Cup 2019, and their critics and naysayers would be ready holding the ‘chokers’ placard for South Africa. But guess what, it probably won’t affect Faf one bit.
Carry on, captain. On your day, you probably don’t need a biggie from Amla. Just like you didn’t need anyone like AB to step up when you blasted your 185. No hundreds were needed. Yours was enough.
Let’s leave Faf alone. He knows what he is doing.
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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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