South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has found himself in a tricky place even after winning the first two Tests against India. Du Plessis was fined by ICC for a slow over-rate in the second Test against India, in Centurion. The Proteas captain was found to be two overs short in at the Super Sport Park, and was fined 40% of his match fee, along with his team-mates who were fined 20% each.The fine signifies that there is now a strike against the South Africa captain’s name. If he is found guilty of another major or minor over-rate offence in the next 12 months in Test cricket, it will lead to Du Plessis’ suspension.To give a simple example of how the consequences can unfold – if Du Plessis is slapped with another over-rate offence in the third Test against India, it would likely result him to miss the first Test against Australia in Durban, which starts on 1st March.If Du Plessis records an offence in the any of the Tests in the series against Australia, it would lead to his ban for the subsequent match.
The core issue
The South Africa team used a lethal four-man pace attack in the Centurion Test, alongside spinner Keshav Maharaj. The Proteas’ pace-centric lineup is likely to have contributed to the hosts ending a little short of their over rate.
South Africa’s pace unit which comprised of – Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi – bowled 116.3 overs, which were distributed between them. The sole-spinner Keshav Maharaj had bowled only 26 overs. As reported by South Africa Cricket Magazine, Du Plessis said in his defence,“The last five days took a lot of hard work. The previous game at Newlands [where South Africa won by 72 runs] was almost on fast forward. This was completely different. It was a game of grinding, hard work and pushing ourselves for longer and longer.”