As India and Bangladesh discuss and finally agree to the Eden Gardens Test next month being turned into a day-nighter, South Africa Test captain Faf du Plessis is rummaging deep in his bucket of excuses.
"Every Test match, they bat first, they score 500, they declare when it's dark, they get three wickets when it's dark and when day three starts, you're under pressure. It was like copy and paste in every Test match," du Plessis said recently, several days after losing all three Tests.
Maybe it’s time for du Plessis to acknowledge they weren’t good enough. That India made them bat in the dark is the lamest excuse one will ever hear.
Even before the first Test against India kicked off at Vizag, du Plessis sounded more like a fatalist philosopher than a battle-hardened cricketer. There was a strong hint of resignation in everything he said. He expected big defeat and that’s exactly what he got.
“What Test cricket, in general, does to you is if there is a flaw in your game, it exposes it. Obviously last time we came here as a batting unit and personally myself found it difficult in tough conditions. The fact is that I needed to get better from a defensive and technical point of view to adapt to play in tough conditions. It was tough for everyone, but it was a huge value for me. After that I started playing spin better. So I think all players have to go through tough times to make them better and understand where their potential weaknesses are. And then either you can disappear or come back stronger,” du Plessis had said on that occasion.
It’s never a good idea to publicly admit that the opposition was too superior and the 'foreign' conditions almost unconquerable. The truth of the matter is du Plessis is a weak captain and it is safe to assume that fans are not interested in what he says anymore.
Mister Captain scored just 142 runs in six innings at a tear-inducing average of 23.66. So much for his learning from the previous Test tour and his huge IPL experience. Some of the youngsters in the side and less-fancied names showed much more spine than he did. The fact is du Plessis hides behind words, just words nothing else.
Anyway, at least Indian fans, terribly disappointed at the quality of cricket du Plessis’ men played, are happy to see South Africa go back to their homeland. They now look to Bangladesh, rightly so, for tough cricket. The Bangla Tigers are already in India and one can trust them to be more competitive than the Proteas without “fire”.
Bangladesh play in almost similar conditions back at home which means no excuses on that front could be made. Moreover, they are a bunch of spirited cricketers.
They may lose all matches which is not far-fetched in view of the superiority of the current Indian team but most of us are likely to bet our bottom dollars that the Bangladeshis will battle like guerrilla fighters and will give India a good run for their money — even without regular skipper Shakib Al Hasan who has been banned for not reporting corrupt approaches on numerous occasions.
At present, du Plessis will be the happiest with the news that India and Bangladesh have decided to play under floodlights. He will hope this keeps happening. Maybe South Africa’s chances will increase if they get to play a couple of day-night Tests on their next visit to India. However, if their chances are indeed polled right now it’s highly doubtful the results will be in their favour. It is totally absurd to blame conditions, especially the “dark“ bit, when all kinds of matches in India are played as per the acceptable playing conditions laid down by the ICC in its charter. No way will the ICC let the South Africans get butchered in the dark if it couldn’t be handled, will they?