Sun, 07 Mar 2021

  • Proteas batsman Faf du Plessis has identified Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah as a clear and present danger for the upcoming Test series.
  • Du Plessis has a poor record in Asia, something that needs to be rectified in the Pakistan series.
  • The former Proteas skipper admits that he is currently "at peace" with his role as a batsman and senior player.

As a senior batsman in the Proteas set-up, it is important that Faf du Plessis is at peace with himself ahead of what will be a challenging Test series in Pakistan.

His previous trips to the sub-continent saw not only the team struggle but Du Plessis became the face of the team's struggle.

South Africa has lost eight of their past nine Tests in Asian, a number of them by wide margins.

Du Plessis was captain in five Tests against Sri Lanka and India and those are matches he'd rather forget.

But without the captaincy and refreshingly for him, a lack of concern with regards to what to expect at the National Stadium in Karachi ahead of Tuesday's first Test against Pakistan means Du Plessis has a lot more clarity with regards to what is expected from him with the bat.

Du Plessis' previous Asian sojourns had often seen him worried about pitch conditions and how much the ball will turn.

"I'm just enjoying my cricket at the moment. I'm trying to make sure that I'm putting myself in a position where I do the work and prepare as best as I can. From there, whatever happens will happen," Du Plessis said in a press conference on Saturday.

"It's coming from a place of contentment where I'm also enjoying the time I have with the team. It comes from a mental place where I'm very intentional in making sure that I enjoy my cricket. If that comes through performances or in the way that I speak, then I'm glad it is happening."

Missing from Du Plessis' Test hundred copy books are tons in Asia. Admittedly, he hasn't played a large bulk of his Test career there, but when he has it hasn't been pretty.

In 15 matches and 25 innings in Asia, Du Plessis has only scored 545 runs at an average of 22.70 with a highest of 80.

Du Plessis, who admitted to being spooked by former Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, will have to lead the charge against leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

Shah's effectiveness was limited in England and New Zealand, but is a different proposition this time around.

156 of his 227 Test scalps have been taken in Asia, meaning he's a clear and present danger for the Proteas.

Du Plessis has recognised this, while adding that reverse swing will also play a massive role.

"There are a few scoring options that the guys are working on, but the challenge lies when the spinner starts bowling a lot of dot balls. That's when they get into a rhythm and bowl in good areas, something Yasir Shah is good at. If you let him bowl at you, he'll do so, so you must have some very good plans to combat him," Du Plessis said.

"I'm interested in seeing the role that reverse swing will play in this series. The scuffing up of the ball doesn't happen as much as it used to. Also, the square is green and moist, so the general scuffing up of the ball doesn't happen as much as it used to, but the most important thing about playing reverse swing is doing so late."

Source: News24

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