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South African batsman Faf du Plessis celebrates his century during a match against India. PTI Photo by Santosh Hirlekar

When Kohli chose Faf to join his World Cup squad

Before the commencement of ICC World Cup 2019, there was a captain’s meet in which each captain was asked to choose a player from other teams, if given a chance, to join their squad. And Virat Kohli promptly chose the South African captain Faf du Plessis.

Faf was the star player for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL). The 34-year-old all-rounder is known for big scores in limited-overs matches. With a total of 1,853 runs in 71 matches, he has been an asset for CSK in giving the team a strong head-start in the game. Not just this, Faf has also been a key addition to the team during crucial chases.

With an overall of 5,187 runs in 136 one-day internationals and 3,608 runs in 58 test matches, Faf is placed firmly in the big league where competition rules, especially in the World Cup squad.

An orthodox, all-conditions technique and a dogged approach at the crease makes him a surprise element in the age of T20 cricket. Moreover, his ability to strike it big is a testament to the versatility of the man.

Being an opener for CSK, Faf portrays confidence and tries to hit the ball out of the boundary, especially against pace attacks. This makes him a threat to the Indian pace attack and may even clinch the match from India’s hands.

In 2015, Faf scored 380 runs to become second to the leading run-getter for South Africa, AB de Villiers. Even in the 2015 semi-final against New Zealand, Faf was the top scorer with 82 runs. However, he could not prevent his World Cup squad from being knocked out.

Despite his amazing individual stats, his performance in the previous World Cup matches hasn’t been able to give Proteas the victory they expected. The World Cup has Faf leading South Africa for the first time. Perhaps he can lead the ‘chokers’ to actually keep their spirits up and steal the cup.

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