South Africa stalwart Faf du Plessis announced his retirement from Test cricket on Wednesday, February 17. The former Proteas captain will, however, continue to be available for national selection in limited-overs cricket with T20 being his priority now.
The 36-year-old thus ended a nine-year Test career that started in November 2012. Du Plessis had made his Test debut on November 22, 2012, against Australia in Adelaide.
The right-handed batsman amassed 4,163 runs in 69 Tests at an average of 40.02 with 21 fifties and 10 tons. He also captained South Africa in 36 Tests after taking over from his childhood best friend AB de Villiers in 2016. Under his captaincy, the Proteas recorded 18 wins, 15 losses and three draws.
Faf du Plessis has announced his retirement from Test cricket.— ICC (@ICC) February 17, 2021
He played 69 Tests for South Africa scoring 4163 runs at 40.02, including 10 centuries. pic.twitter.com/QfhRjsWqxr
"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. If someone had told me 15 years ago, that I would play 69 Test matches for South Africa and captained 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," the 36-year-old wrote in a statement that he posted on his Instagram handle.
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Du Plessis further stated that his focus now shifts to T20 cricket but ODIs will also remain a part of his plans.
"The next two years are the 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 I can be the best player I can possibly be. I strongly believe that I have a lot to offer to the Proteas in this format," he added.
"This does not mean that ODI cricket is longer in the plans. I'm just making T20 cricket the priority in the short term," he said.
"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," he further said in his statement.
"For now, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who had an influence on my Test career. I would like to single out my wife and family in particular -- I would not have been able to do without their support during the unforgettable journey that Test cricket has taken me on.
"To my coaches, teammates and support staff over the years, I would also like to give a note of thanks of course, to Cricket South Africa for the opportunity to be able to represent and leady my country in the pinnacle of the game we all love. It has been an incredible journey, with many stories that I look forward to one day sharing," he concluded.
Meanwhile, several former cricketers, experts and fans congratulated du Plessis on his stellar Test career.
Well played @faf1307. Another top player says goodbye to the South African test team. Opens up an opportunity, yes, but will be difficult to fill.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 17, 2021
Well done @faf1307 , you will be missed by those who played with and against you. 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻— Ashwin 🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) February 17, 2021
Congrats on a lovely Test career and more power to you in the future.— DK (@DineshKarthik) February 17, 2021
Go well 👍🏻 @faf1307
Faf has timed his Test retirement on @ABdeVilliers17's birthday. They have been great friends since childhood. The greatest friendship bond ever in cricket. #HappyBirthdayABD #HappyBirthDayAbDeVilliers pic.twitter.com/hN6IkFUTN4— George (@VijayIsMyLife) February 17, 2021
Test career of Faf Du Plessis will be always remembered for his famous Adelaide miracle - unbeaten 110 runs from 376 balls including 14 fours in the 4th innings to save the Test for South Africa on his debut.— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) February 17, 2021
Think we saw it coming, with Faf, hope you get what you want from the other two formats. Good luck!— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) February 17, 2021
Thanks for the marathons in Adelaide and others.
Today Faf du Plessis announces his Test retirement on AB de Villiers birthday. Faf earlier said in 'DRS with Ash' that he respects ABD's retirement decision.— Kausthub Gudipati (@kaustats) February 17, 2021
Both are great friends since high school days, as they were hostel roommates from 1998 to 2002. #FafRetires #ThankYouFaf
Feature image courtesy: Christiaan Kotze / AFP