Faf du Plessis

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In his debut Test match, du Plessis batted for almost eight hours, often with tail-enders, to save a match
The South African batsman Francois ‘Faf’ du Plessis, along with AB de Villiers, recently came close to accomplishing the highest successful chase in a Test match. Pursuing 458 runs for victory against India, the two put on 205 runs for the 5th wicket. Their performances ensured that South Africa, who finished at 450 for 7, registered their second-highest fourth innings total ever to draw the Test.

After de Villiers got out for 103, du Plessis held the baton, facing 309 balls and scoring 134 runs before eventually being run out. Du Plessis is fast gathering the reputation of being a batsman with vast reserves of concentration. In his ten Test matches so far, he’s already scored three centuries, all of them in crunch times.

In his debut match last year, du Plessis played a historic innings against Australia in the fourth innings. He batted for almost eight hours, on a hot and humid day at Adelaide, with five different partners, one of whom could barely run. Cramping and exhausted, he batted for a total of 376 balls scoring an unbeaten 110, often sheltering the tail-enders, to save the match.

Du Plessis is 29 years old. The son of a professional rugby player, he played county cricket for many years. When he was 21, Nottinghamshire, the county team he was playing for, offered him a deal with a conditional clause that would have mandated him to play for England. The cricketer refused the offer. His childhood friend, AB de Villiers, became a successful cricketer with the South African national side, while he continued to toil in the domestic circuit.

Du Plessis got called up for national duty only in 2011. He now also captains the country’s T20 squad, apart from playing for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.