Former South Africa skipper Graeme Smith has asked Cricket South Africa (CSA) to take a call soon on Faf du Plessis ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, saying the batting stalwart needs to be asked how much time he can devote to the country's cricket in the lead-up to the mega event.
Du Plessis is among a group of players that are not part of CSA's list of contracted players and it remains to be seen whether any free agents will be selected to play for the Proteas at the T20 World Cup in October-November this year.
Smith was Director of Cricket at CSA when a decision was taken to bar free agents from taking part in last year's event in the UAE, and a similar decision now awaits selectors ahead of this year's showpiece T20 event."South Africa have got an equation where they have to figure out what their best XI is," Smith said on Star Sports.
"Players are playing in leagues around the world... how much time can he (du Plessis) give to South Africa in the lead up to the World Cup," he questioned.Du Plessis has been playing lucrative franchise cricket across the world and was also a part of this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), leading Royal Challengers Bangalore.
While du Plessis has long retired at the international level in the longer formats of the game, he is yet to officially quit the 20-over game despite his most recent appearance for South Africa coming at the end of 2020. Du Plessis is still rated a big-game player, having showcased his scoring abilities in the last two editions of the IPL.
Last year, he produced a brilliant knock to help Chennai Super Kings lift the fourth IPL trophy, while in 2022, he scored 468 runs to help Royal Challengers Bangalore past the Eliminator stage of the tournament.
Du Plessis has also previously been the key to South Africa's success in T20 cricket, with the 37-year-old having scored the fourth most runs for the country in the shortest format of the game."Do they pick him straight for the World Cup or should he be part of the build-up where he understands the team culture, the thinking, training and preparing," Smith questioned.
"India doesn't face that challenge but for other nations (dealing with) free agents is a difficult one. We know Faf has the ability, the team has to decide how much time he needs to spend with the team."Maybe he is in that phase of his life where is happy to play the leagues, he is retired maybe from international cricket, maybe that's where he wants to be," Smith added.