- Proteas and Lions fast bowler Kagiso Rabada said he’ll miss Faf du Plessis’s excellent catching in the slip cordon.
- Du Plessis announced his retirement from Test cricket on Wednesday, drawing the curtain on a eight-year career that spanned 69 Tests.
- 36 of those were as captain and Rabada played in 34 of those games, taking more than 150 wickets for his team and captain.
Proteas and Lions fast bowler Kagiso Rabada said the one thing he’ll miss the most in Faf du Plessis’s Test retirement are his safe hands at slip.
Du Plessis announced his retirement from the red-ball format on Wednesday, drawing the curtain on a 69-match career that started in 2012.
Rabada was still in high school at St Stithians in Randburg when Du Plessis defied everything Australia threw at him at the Adelaide Oval on his debut.
With Du Plessis being a senior player and captain for the bulk of Rabada’s career, he spent a fair bit of time in the slip cordon where he didn’t miss too many catches.
Radaba though did sound pleased that Du Plessis could still be available for limited overs engagements.
“We’re going to miss those hands in the slip cordon. He doesn’t drop many and he’s taken some blinders. It is a test career that should be celebrated, but I guess it was his time, but it looks like he still wants to continue playing limited overs cricket,” Rabada said.
“He’s had a tremendous career and I guess it was his time to call it and everyone has that time. In life, we have to move on, but he’s had a fantastic Test career and in other formats. He’s coming off some good form in limited overs cricket. He did well at the IPL and did well in the England T20 series. It seems like he still enjoys his white ball cricket.”
Of the five Test captains Rabada has played under in his 45-Test career, it was under Du Plessis where he saw the most success.
Rabada played in 34 of Du Plessis’s 36 Tests as captain, taking 159 scalps at an average of 22.74 with best bowling figures of 6/54.
There are a number of pictures circulating of Du Plessis looking glowingly at Rabada, for it was under his leadership that Rabada blossomed into a world-class paceman.
With Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel available for 10, 29 and 13 matches respectively during Du Plessis’s reign, it was necessary that Rabada grew up quickly as the team transitioned.
“It’s a big loss as a leader and he’s done a lot. We’re kind of going through a transition and there was a balance of young and old. At the time, he was leading the team and I think he did so magnificently. We played against some stiff opposition and we came out on top more often than not. He can’t be discredited for the work that he’s put in,” Rabada said.
Du Plessis and Rabada seemed to have a mutual performance pact for Australia who recently cancelled their tour of South Africa.
Whether or not the Australian tour would have been Du Plessis’s Test swansong remains a question that’ll never be answered.
Rabada though said he would have loved to have a joust against Tim Paine’s side in what would have been the first Test series between the sides since the infamous “Sandpapergate” series.
That particular rubber was not only defined by Australia’s skullduggery with the ball in the third Test at Newlands, but Rabada’s fiery fast-bowling that had Australia unsettled from the Port Elizabeth Test onwards.
“We would have loved to have played against Australia. From a team perspective, we have a young and inexperienced team when you weigh us up against most teams. The only way to get experience is to play and for me personally, I wanted to get some form back and carrying on playing instead of halting the progress,” Rabada said.