Proteas captain Faf du Plessis is among a group of South African Test cricketers who will turn out for their franchises in this week’s domestic four-day matches as part of preparations for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at SuperSport Park.
Most of the Proteas featured in the Mzansi Super League (MSL)‚ which was won by the Jozi Stars‚ and SA coach Ottis Gibson and Du Plessis want them to taste red-ball cricket before they take on the highly unpredictable Pakistan.
Du Plessis‚ who has been included in the Titans squad to face the Knights‚ said he would have liked to see players have a rest after the MSL. But the captain realises this would not be ideal as they have not played red-ball cricket in a long time.
“There’s been a lot of cricket played‚ so you want your guys to be fresh but we also haven’t played a lot of red-ball cricket recently‚” he said.
“The games start on Wednesday and they finish on December 22 and on the next day the Proteas assemble.
“That’s three days before the start of the Test in Centurion.
“It’s not ideal because you want to play red-ball cricket and you also want the guys to rest and be a bit fresher.
“I would’ve liked to see the guys get a bit more rest and get their batteries recharged because it’s a very hectic season for the Proteas.”
Du Plessis‚ Chris Morris‚ Dean Elgar‚ Aiden Markram‚ Heinrich Klaasen and Tabraiz Shamsi have been picked by Titans coach Mark Boucher in the squad for their clash against the Knights in Bloemfontein.
The other Proteas stars in action this week are Dolphins spinner Keshav Maharaj‚ who has been included in their squad to face the Lions at the Wanderers‚ and Hashim Amla‚ who is likely to feature for the Cape Cobras against the Warriors at St George’s Park.
Quinton de Kock‚ who was named the most valuable player during the MSL‚ has been rested by the Titans.
Kagiso Rabada‚ who helped the Jozi Stars to MSL success‚ and Dale Steyn and Duanne Olivier of the Cape Town Blitz‚ are unlikely to play because of their participation in the final of the T20 league.
On the other hand‚ Pakistan’s batsmen will get an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the inland conditions when they play a three-day match against a South African Invitation XI at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Wednesday.