Former South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from Test Cricket in an Instagram post, adding that the lockdown period has given him enough clarity to go about the decision. He has further added that he is going to prioritise T20 cricket in the next few years.
A Cricketer of incredible substance, Faf du Plessis formed one of the deadliest pairs in South African cricket with AB de Villiers and later, he led the side with effortless elan. The 36-year-old made his debut for the Proteas in the longest format of the game in 2012 and had a career of distinction, scoring 4163 in 69 Test matches at an average shade over 40. The Rawalpindi Test match against Pakistan was his last as he is now going to focus on the 20-over format keeping the next two World Cups in mind.
"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 a statement posted on his Instagram account.
"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 up as today. In all things, those instances worked towards the good of who I believe I am today."
His career-defining knock came on his debut, which showed immense grit and determination, with AB de Villiers snatching a thrilling draw on the final day that helped them win the Test Championship mace.
Du Plessis led South Africa to a famous Test series win against Australia in their own backyard and was named permanent Test captain of South Africa but a loss to India last year was the last straw from which he could never really recover.
He will continue to be available for selection in both the limited-overs formats and is mainly channeling his focus on the T20s keeping the two World Cups in mind.
"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," he said.
"I strongly believe that I have a lot to offer to the 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.
"I will be in conversation with CSA over the next couple of months on what the future might look like for me over the next year to find a solution that works for both of us."