Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has shared his opinion on whether Faf du Plessis will play for South Africa again and whether the board will make the difficult decision to pick him for the T20 World Cup 2022.
Du Plessis is among a group of players that are no longer contracted by Cricket South Africa and it remains to be seen whether any free agents will be selected to play for the Proteas at the T20 showcase that starts in Australia in October.
Smith was Cricket South Africa’s director when it was decided that none of the free agents would play for South Africa in T20 World Cup 2021, despite Faf du Plessis being ready to participate as CSA said that the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement regarding monetary issues.
"South Africa have got an equation where they have to figure out what their best XI is. Players are playing in leagues around the world...how much time can he (du Plessis) give to South Africa in the lead-up to the World Cup," said Smith on Star Sports.
Du Plessis retired from Test cricket a couple of years back but is yet to call time on his career in limited-overs format at the international level, though his last game for Proteas came in 2020.
In the final of the IPL 2021, Du Plessis produced a brilliant knock to help Chennai Super Kings to a fourth IPL title, while in IPL 2022 as captain, he scored 468 runs to help Royal Challengers Bangalore qualify for the playoffs of the tournament.
"Do they pick him straight for the World Cup or should he part of the build-up where he understands the team culture, the thinking, training and preparing. India doesn't face that challenge but for other nations (dealing with) free agents is a difficult one. We know Faf has the ability, the team has to decide how much time he needs to spend with the team,” Smith added.
Smith said he hadn't spoken to du Plessis recently and was unsure whether the former skipper would be interested in committing to play the four-week long tournament in Australia.
"Maybe he is in that phase of his life where is happy to play the leagues, he is retired maybe from international cricket, maybe that's where he wants to be," Smith said.
The T20 World Cup 2022 begins in Australia on October 16, with South Africa playing their first match on Oct 24 in Hobart against a qualifier from the first round.