Faf du Plessis did not expect his concussion symptoms to last beyond four weeks. After battling a challenging two months that included rehab sessions with specialists, the South African will lead the St Lucia Kings in the Caribbean Premier League starting on Thursday.
Post the CPL, which ends on September 15, Faf will fly to the United Arab Emirates to join the Chennai Super Kings for the remainder of the Indian Premier League.
The right-hander scored 320 runs at a strike rate of 145.45 in the first leg of the tournament. “We have played good cricket; hopefully, the form will continue. I had a strong first half, and I hope to continue from where I left off [in India]. We are a better-balanced squad from the previous season,” Faf told reporters ahead of the CPL opener against Jamaica Tallawahs.
Faf feels CSK’s player-selection process has been phenomenal over the years. And that is the reason behind its success. “CSK always had a strong side on the cricket field. They always looked at getting good leaders. At one stage, they had four international captains playing for CSK. They rely on a lot of smart cricketers, and mixing that with the experience of playing under MS Dhoni is the biggest factor. He is probably the most influential captain in the game. The last 10 years have been good for me; extremely grateful for the learning I had,” he said.
Faf sustained a concussion during a Pakistan Super League game in June. He collided with Quetta Gladiators teammate Mohammad Hasnain while trying to save a boundary. “Normally, during a concussion injury, you get hit on the helmet and someone checks you out, either you continue batting or recover in a week’s time. I thought it would take two or four weeks, it has been triple. Luckily I am at the end of it now. I am just making sure I get to practise in full intensity. If I do that, I will be ready to play,” said Faf, who suffered a bit of memory loss after the incident.
Andy Flower lauds IPL-CPL connection
St Lucia Kings head coach Andy Flower believes that IPL teams buying stakes in CPL augurs well for the league. “I would imagine that those links with India would mean there is a growing interest in the CPL.
“I think the CPL is a well-watched tournament in India. The Indian public like watching Caribbean cricket because it is exciting and fun. The crowd is great fun. It is interesting to watch how the business of franchise cricket develops in that regard,” said the former Zimbabwe captain.