CAPE TOWN (AFP) – The South African team management on Sunday called for flexibility in dealing with over-rate regulations following a one-match ban imposed on captain Faf du Plessis.
He will miss the third and final Test against Pakistan starting in Johannesburg on Friday.
Du Plessis was banned for one Test after being found guilty, for the second time in a 12-month period, of captaining a team which maintained a slow over-rate.
South Africa opted for an all-pace attack in the second Test at Newlands and were found by match referee David Boon to be one over short of the required rate of 15 overs an hour after time allowances were taken into account.
Team media manager Lerato Malekutu said, “The team management and Faf have accepted and respect the decision as it falls under the International Cricket Council code of conduct.
“However, they feel there could be a bit of flexibility given the four-pronged seam attack, taking 20 wickets within three days and playing a positive brand of cricket, rather than trying to delay or slow down the match.”
Du Plessis had scarcely finished extolling the virtues of Test cricket – and in particular the excitement generated by fast bowlers – before he found himself banned because of the time it takes those bowlers to deliver their overs.
South Africa won the match – and clinched the series – with almost two days to spare.
Du Plessis was previously found guilty of what the International Cricket Council, in announcing the ban, described as a “minor over-rate offence” after the second Test against India in Centurion in January last year.
In addition to the ban, Du Plessis was fined 20 per cent of his match fee and the rest of the players were fined 10 per cent of their fee.
In his post-match press conference, after South Africa completed a nine-wicket win on Sunday, Du Plessis said South Africa were determined not to “take our foot off the gas” and hinted that they may again pick four fast bowlers for the Johannesburg Test.
His absence is a big blow for the hosts. He has proven to be one of cricket’s most effective captains and his century in tricky batting conditions earned him the man of the match award and anchored what of late has been a fragile batting line-up.
Opening batsman Dean Elgar took over the captaincy on the last occasion Du Plessis missed a Test, in England in 2017 when Du Plessis flew home for the birth of his first child.
Elgar was given the job despite Hashim Amla, a former captain, being in the side.
Aiden Markram, Elgar’s opening partner, is seen as a future Test captain.
He was made captain of the one-day side in a home series against India last year but could not prevent India winning 4-1, while he struggled with his own batting orm.
Both Amla and Markram were injured during the Newlands Test but are expected to be fit for Johannesburg.
Zubayr Hamza is a member of the current Test squad as a back-up batsman and is likely to win his first cap in place of Du Plessis.
Malekutu said the selectors would make a decision “in the next few days” regarding a replacement for Du Plessis in the squad.