South Africa back on track after legends join backroom staff, says Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis says South African cricket is back in an upward trajectory after a range of legends joined the backroom staff.
Former captain Graeme Smith has been appointed director of cricket, with Mark Boucher named head coach, Jacques Kallis taking a role as coach bowling, together with the set-up boasting over looks
The Proteas have dropped their five Tests – 2 at home to three and Sri Lanka in India – but will hope to bounce back when the four-Test series against England starts on Boxing Day, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7am.
“It’s been a breath of fresh air to have the guys back. There is a genuine positive sense to what we have been doing along with a true energy,” said South Africa skipper Du Plessis.
“Even a person like myself, that has played a lot cricket, I feel that the wisdom at the dressing area helps me too.
“The last six months has felt as though there has been a little more weight in my shoulders. I could see things happening off the field that were not the structures.
“You sort of sit and go’why have those men not been for the past couple of decades?’ It’s so important to have people like that.
“Consider Australia as an example, you play with them and there’s Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Steve Waugh… it makes you sit back and say’we need that’.
“Now it is set in stone and there’s a vision and a plan to return to number one, however, will take a while.”
Du Plessis recently reverted outside with South Africa’s World Cup-winning rugby union captain the two along with Siya Kolisi met Liverpool director Jurgen Klopp.
The 35-year-old states the German left a very lasting impression.
“It was only by chance,” Du Plessis said of the meeting. “I was out with Siya, who’s a massive Liverpool fan, also he had a fanboy minute. They recognized each other and that he [Klopp] came around and said’hi’.
“I was very impressed with him. For somebody to be that famous as a football trainer and also be such a terrific man. That’s what real leadership is about, connecting with folks.
“I am not a massive football fan but I really do support him now.”
South Africa have confirmed that Rassie van der Dussen, 30, will make his Test debut together with Temba Bavuma at # 5 at Centurion.
“He had been a mature cricketer when he began for us in ODIs and is somebody who understands his game really well” Du Plessis said of Van der Dussen, who’d played 27 white-ball matches for the Proteas.
“He stumbled into international cricket looking quite comfortable and within the last season and a half has been very successful and scored a great deal of runs in white-ball cricket.
“He’s calm and composed together with the bat. You may see it that’s been the situation with him and when somebody is suited to cricket. I think he’ll be very much in your home.”
View the first Test between England and South Africa, from 7am, live at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Boxing Day on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event.