You Don't Make That Choice When It Comes To Emotional Or Disappointed, - Du Plessis Termination > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - You don't make those decisions when emotional or disappointed - du Plessis on resignation

After presiding over eight defeats in last nine Tests, it's anybody's guess if du Plessis will continue as South Africa's red-ball captain.

After presiding over eight defeats in last nine Tests, it's anybody's guess if du Plessis will continue as South Africa's red-ball captain.

An interested onlooker leaned casually against the doorframe leading to the room where Vernon Philander was giving his final press conference as a Test player at the Wanderers on Monday. Later, on his way out of the same room, having since gone from an onlooker to the centre of attention, he paused to offer the arriving Mark Wood the warmest of man-hugs.

There's more to Faf du Plessis than what we see on the field or when he is behind the microphones. But it's there that he is judged as South Africa's captain and the heart of their batting line-up. That he wanted to watch Philander's last moments in the spotlight, or that he had the good manners to congratulate Wood on being England's leading wicket-taker in the series doesn't matter. Note to all future Test captains: do not expect to be treated with fairness.

South Africa were outbatted, outbowled, outfielded and outthought by England. In short, outplayed. Were they also outcaptained? For instance, on Saturday, when Wood and Stuart Broad laid into the bowling with abandon to hammer a stand of 82, a Wanderers record for the last wicket. They were able to do so because almost every delivery they faced was pitched short and wide, and because the field was set so defensively it was a colander of opportunity.

"It's very easy to captain when guys can bowl to a plan," Du Plessis said. "When [No.s] 9 and 10 get together and they start slogging, you look like the guy who's getting it wrong. I wish I was so powerful that I can change it. But you can't. I don't see it as tactically getting it wrong. I see it as a reflection of the performance of the team. People want answers when your team are getting it wrong and they look to the captain and coach first."

And the question many South Africans will want answered is whether Du Plessis, already discarded as the one-day captain, and having presided over eight defeats in South Africa's last nine Tests, will be in charge for the team's next assignment in the format: two matches in the Caribbean in July? "It feels like you've been pushing me that way in the last while," he said to the press when asked if he would resign. "You don't make decisions like that when you are emotional or disappointed. I know the results don't look good. It shows you where we are in terms of confidence. It's time off to get away from cricket and from all the noise, freshen up and then come back for the T20s."

That would be the series of three games that starts on February 12, when Du Plessis is likely to again come face-to-face with Jos Buttler - whose shoulder he crashed into on his way to telling Broad what he thought of him on Monday. "I don't think we knew we touched each other," Du Plessis said. "It was just myself and 'Broady' having a go at each other. I think [Buttler] was just trying to get inbetween myself and him. There was nothing malicious. He was trying to diffuse the situation. He didn't do anything wrong. I didn't even see he was there. It was just words from 'Broady' and then a retaliation.

"I think that's part of my character. I am always involved in a little bit of something somewhere in a game; trying to show that fight as the leader the team that you don't stand back to opposition. So it's not like I am looking for it, but if it comes my way I won't back down. It just happens. It was just him saying something to me and then me saying something back."

Du Plessis isn't the only cricket-minded South African in terse conversation. A month ago, his compatriots would have been looking forward to the Test series against England as a chance to put matters right. The shambolic administration that has taken the game in this country close to disaster. A poor World Cup. An even worse Test series in India. The lingering sense that the game's wheels are about to come off. All of the above could have been mitigated by beating England, or at least emerging from the series a better team than they went in. Now what?

South Africa have nosedived since winning the first Test in Centurion, even though that wasn't apparent in the second Test at Newlands, where they went down fighting. Call it the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer effect. A struggling team appoints a new coach, in this case an entirely new regime. And, what do you know, they win. Initially. Then they return to their losing ways.

That's not good. But there's an interested onlooker with good manners at the helm, and a good bloke besides. It could be worse.

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