Our cricket must do the talking, says Faf

Proteas captain defends De Kock again, says Warner must have crossed the line

By Our Bureau & Agencies
  • Published 9.03.18
David Warner during  nets at St Georges Park, in Port Elizabeth on Thursday. (Getty Images)

Calcutta/Port Elizabeth: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis defended Quinton de Kock again on Thursday, suggesting Australia’s opening batsman David Warner had crossed the line in his sledging of the wicketkeeper in the tempestuous first Test.

According to a Cricket South Africa media release, Du Plessis has also said that it is time for his team to make a bold statement with performances in the second Test, beginning at starting at St George’s Park on Friday.

Du Plessis’s defence of De Kock came on the same day that the South Africa captain and his Australian counterpart, Steve Smith, met to quell simmering tensions between the two camps after the controversial opening Test to the four-game series in Durban.

Warner had complained on Wednesday that De Kock had made “vile and disgusting” comments about his wife Candice. It led to a flashpoint between the pair, but Du Plessis said that if it was true, the comments must have been made after extreme provocation.

“If you know Quinton’s character, you know he is a very quiet guy. I struggle to get a word out of him on the field,” Du Plessis said.

“I know he’s a very relaxed, laid back guy. The point leading up to that would have been a lot of stuff said to Quinton, a lot of personal stuff. I thought he actually handled himself well in terms of all the stuff that was said to him.

“Eventually he reached a point where he said enough is enough. Any guy in the world would eventually say something back.”

Warner was fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points over the confrontation in the players’ tunnel that was caught on CCTV cameras at tea on the fourth day, during which the batsman had to be restrained by team-mates.

De Kock received a fine of 25 percent of his match fee and had one demerit point added to his record.
Du Plessis said the team will continue with the ‘positive’ brand of cricket that has been synonymous with his captaincy reign.

“It is a big game for us. We have to make sure that our cricket does the talking. We have spoken behind closed doors about the lessons we have learnt and about trying to improve them. It is big for us, we need to make sure we get back into the series 1-1.

“As a captain of the team we don’t look to push that line,” he said. “We don’t look to find the grey areas. We try to play a positive brand of cricket with good body language and the type of intensity where you look the guy in the eye and you let them know that you are there to play and compete. We are not a team that flirts with that line when it comes to vocals, we want the cricket to do the talking.

“I have a lot of respect for every team that we play against,” he explained. “The style of play that the team comes with is probably the style of play that they believe they need to play with. When you play against New Zealand, they are the nice guys and are friendly, they don’t believe they need to play like that. They are a team that gets results in the way that they play. We are similar as a team. As a captain, I don’t see much value in what you say on the field making an impact on the performances that you do have as a team.”

The captain plays in his 50th Test match for South Africa, joining Hashim Amla (114), AB de Villiers (111) Vernon Philander (51) and Morne Morkel (84) in the current squad to have achieved the feat. The milestone will be the ideal reminder for Du Plessis – and the rest of the senior players – of the importance of making their experience and expertise count in the big moments.

“I will be the first guy to always say that in big series you need your big players to stand up,” he said. “ There is no doubt about the fact that the big players didn’t perform in the first Test... It is that simple for me. It’s not about relying on the youngsters to perform.”