Faf: Results should calm transformation hysteria

Stand-in South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis believes the series whitewash against Australia will go a long way towards calming the transformation hysteria that has gripped the nation’s cricket fans.

Since the introduction of the new targets, which require national team to field a minimum of six non-white players on average, including two black Africans over the course of a season in September South Africa have won six consecutive ODIs.

Du Plessis said: “People will relax now and see that it’s not that bad. People were expecting big changes and big defeats, but now, people can relax and see there is enough talent, no matter what colour you are.

“Our cricket is in a healthy state. People can be confident that even with those targets, we are a force to be reckoned with.”

The fears have been that the targets would pose selection conundrums unnecessarily but the return to form of JP Duminy and emergence of talents such as Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi leaves the Proteas with tremendous depth and versatility, particularly in the ODI arena.

For a long time Cricket South Africa has had transformation on the agenda but no transparent targets and the skipper is happy that players now know what the score is regarding so-called quotas.

Du Plessis continued: “We try and embrace it. The positive is that it is open and there is a honest policy out there. Everyone knows what it’s all about and everyone can buy into it. As long as you are open and honest, you can move forward.”

The series whiteash against Australia has helped lift some of the pressure on coach Russell Domingo and Du Plessis gave credit to the boss for his resilience.

The skipper went on: “As a squad, we made a huge transition when we went away and had a hard look at ourselves, and the coaches were part of it.

“They were really eager to try and improve themselves, and since that day, they have been brilliant. Russell has stepped his game up, he is challenging people and players now, and the coaching staff are demanding more from players.

“It’s important we don’t take that for granted because we have an extremely tough Test tour of Australia coming up. I accept that we won’t win every series, but it’s important for us to know what we need to do to be at our best. Russell has been really good.

“There was a lot of pressure on them after the West Indies tri-series and that’s normal. You get that when a team doesn’t perform, but full credit must go to him for how he has stepped up.”

South Africa now face the challenge of correcting their status in Test cricket with a series away against Australia preceding a series at home against Sri Lanka.