South Africa has become the first team to be eliminated from the ICC World Cup 2019 semi-finals race. The Proteas will be heading home after their last league game on June 29 against Sri Lanka, irrespective of the outcome of their remaining two matches.
The team has collectively failed to perform, accumulating only three points with one win and five defeats in seven league games. One game was washed out. Skipper Faf du Plessis is blaming the Indian Premier League for Proteas pathetic performance in the World Cup in England and Wales.
In the post-match conference after the team’s loss to Pakistan on Sunday, du Plessis said the IPL might have played a role in his team’s early exit from the World Cup. He opined Proteas star bowler Kagiso Rabada did not perform well in the World Cup as he had played non-stop cricket during the IPL.
Du Plessis signalled out Rabada and fellow new ball bowler Lung Ngidi’s poor form as one of the key reasons for the team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals. Rabada had picked only six wickets in seven matches, averaging a disappointing 50.83. In the IPL 2019, the young seamer had taken 25 wickets at an average of 14.72 from 12 games for Delhi Capitals.
Responding to a question about the workload on South Africa’s pace spearhead in the absence of Dale Steyn, du Plessis said: “I don’t think we’ll ever have a perfect answer for that because he’s probably biting on too much. But we did try and get him not to go to the IPL; to try and stay and get fresh. That wasn’t the case. Then when he went there, we were like, let’s try and get him back halfway through the IPL because it’s important, not just for him, but a few other players.
“I mean, I spoke about it before the IPL even started, that it’s important that we try and find space to rest our three-format players, because they play all the formats all the time, and then IPL,” he added.
Du Plessis though admitted that the IPL could be just one out of several reasons. “I don’t think it’s not necessarily just the IPL, but it was important for a few guys to rest; and the fact that they didn’t mean that they – you know, they came into the tournament not fresh. That’s not an excuse; that’s just a fact. And KG (Rabada) is – you can see that his pace is probably a little bit down from where he normally is,” he said.
Here is the video of Du Plessis’ post match Press conference: