New Delhi: Chennai Super Kings allrounder Faf du Plessis is looking at the Indian Premier League as a gateway to the South African Test squad. du Plessis made his ODI debut last year against India and has since made himself something of a fixture in the side, playing 21 matches, but admitted that playing Test cricket remains a dream.
"My aim is to get into the Test team. I know it is tough considering the likes of [Hashim] Amla, [Jacques] Kallis and AB [de Villers] are not going anywhere. So I just have to keep scoring runs and hope one day I get there," du Plessis said. "In the ODIs I think I have established my place. I don't know about T20s. They are still trying out combinations for the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.”
du Plessis, whose legspin has accounted for 49 wickets in List A cricket, hoped to make an impact with the ball to boost his claims. "I have to be consistent both with the bat and ball in order to play regularly for South Africa in all the formats of the game. I have been bowling a lot back home and took 18 wickets in nine Twenty20 games. If I bowl more, I have a better chance of getting into the Test team,” he said. Breaking into South Africa’s Test team will not be easy for du Plessis, considering that JP Duminy and Jacques Rudolph are the preferred middle-order batsman at the moment. du Plessis was aware of the difficult he faces. "You are not getting rid of Amla, de Villiers and Kallis, so I can only come in for those guys,” he said.
The 27-year-old also said he was enjoying his role as an opener with the Chennai team. "Being part of the biggest Twenty20 tournament in the world has changed my life. Opening is new for me. I normally bat five for South Africa and four for my domestic team, sometimes three. It is the first time I am opening actually and it is like a learning curve. I guess it should help me improve as a player.”
Asked how he compared the IPL and the South African T20 league, du Plessis said, "You really can't compare the two. IPL is the biggest tournament in the world. There [South Africa] we have maximum 10,000 people coming to watch the match, here 40,000 is a normal number. Plus, you are getting to play with some of the top international players and you get to learn so much from them."
"It [IPL] has changed cricket a lot. The game is a lot friendlier now than in the past. Culturally, it is a lot different here but I get on very well with the Indian guys. Thanks to IPL, I have come close to Suresh Raina. We stay in regular touch on BBM and congratulate each other whenever we do well for our national teams.”