<
>

Du Plessis hints at retirement after 2019 World Cup

Faf du Plessis made his first-class debut in March 2004 and played his first international match in 2011 against India in Cape Town Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Faf du Plessis, South Africa's Test and T20I captain, has hinted at international retirement in two years' time but has committed to playing all formats until then. In an interview in the May 2017 edition of GQ Magazine , du Plessis said himself and '"a number of senior players" hoped to make the 2019 World Cup their swansong.

"I see myself heading towards the 2019 World Cup playing all formats of the game and then calling time on my career," du Plessis said.

Though du Plessis did not name which of his team-mates are thinking along the same lines, AB de Villiers is certainly among them. De Villiers, the ODI captain, handed over the Test reins to du Plessis last summer and embarked on a hiatus from the longest format in his aim to keep himself fit and firing for the World Cup. Although du Plessis admitted South Africa miss de Villiers, he also explained that the team supports his decision.

"I can't sit and say he should be playing Test cricket because the guy has been doing it for 12 years and 106 Test matches. It translates to so much time away from home and people have to understand that there is a human side of the decision to consider," du Plessis said. "However, from a cricket point of view, I would obviously be the first to say that AB needs to play Tests for South Africa because he is one of the best batsmen in the world. For him, it's about spending more time at home and getting to the 2019 World Cup. He wants to ensure he remains mentally fresh and his body is still going strong. I fully respect AB's decision but I don't agree with it."

The interview also asked du Plessis his view on the talent exodus which had several recently-capped internationals, of which Kyle Abbott was the highest-profile, sign Kolpak deals and effectively end their South Africa careers. Du Plessis put their decisions down to "job security" and urged his employers, Cricket South Africa, to do more to guarantee players financially sound futures.

"CSA need to be proactive by paying more and offering longer contracts," du Plessis said. "Stability is the key to success and you want to build a team that is going to take the country forward."

The latest round of central contracts has already made an attempt to grant du Plessis' wish. Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada, two of the younger players to be contracted, were given two-year deals instead of one.