Du Plessis sets an example with hard graft
A finger injury he sustained in the IPL had not quite healed but Faf du Plessis was undeterred, scoring a fifty for South Africa to guide them to victory in the first Twenty20 international against Bangladesh in Mirpur
When Faf du Plessis suspected that a finger injury he had sustained during IPL 2015 was worse than a sprain, he shut up. Instead of going for a scan to determine the severity of the injury and risk sitting out the final, he decided to play through the pain to try and help Chennai Super Kings claim the cup.
Super Kings failed to chase 203, du Plessis contributed only one run to the cause and his finger was declared broken. His commitment, however, was intact. And it remained that way two months later, when South Africa took the field for the first time since the 2015 World Cup semi-final.
Du Plessis' finger had not entirely healed but that was not going to stop him from leading the side in every way. He did not bat in the practice match against the BCB XI on Friday but looked the sharpest of the lot and was the only batsman to negotiate conditions well enough to score a half-century.
His unbeaten 79 made up more than half of South Africa's total and his 58-run, fifth-wicket stand with Rilee Rossouw took the game away from Bangladesh, who could not even muster 100 runs between them. It was, as Rossouw put it, an innings in which the captain led by example.
"He played an immaculate innings," Rossouw said. "He played well, especially when we lost two early wickets, he still took the game to them and played his natural attacking game. He just put his head down and did the job today."
While du Plessis' manipulation of the Bangladesh spinners and patience against disciplined seam bowling was the major part of the job, battling the heat was also a challenge. Although there was considerable cloud cover over the Shere Bangla National Stadium, du Plessis, in a post-match interview, joked that he may have "lost two kilograms just running around out there in the humidity" and stressed the victory came through nothing more than "hard graft." That's something he has always been prepared to do.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent