“I’m at a stage where the cortisone is not good for my body anymore; so that’s why the operation is always the last resort.” – Faf du Plessis © Getty
Having endured a tennis-elbow injury for approximately two years now, Faf du Plessis will finally undergo surgery for the same. During this period, the South African had been playing by using cortisone injections as a temporary solution but it appears that things have reached a stage where a long term solution is preferred.
The decision to undergo surgery meant that the 39-year-old had to leave the ongoing Caribbean Premier League season midway with his team St Lucia Kings currently sitting atop the points table. The team has had two wins, a loss and two no-results from five games with Du Plessis scoring 112 runs in three innings.
“Happy with the results but obviously sad [that] I’m leaving at a crucial stage in the tournament when you feel like the team can start doing some really good things in the tournament,” du Plessis said at the post-match presentation of St. Lucia Kings’ latest game.
“For me, the challenge with the elbow is I’ve played with it (tennis elbow) for almost two years; I’ve had eight cortisone injections into my elbow. So I’m at a stage where the cortisone is not good for my body anymore; so that’s why the operation is always the last resort. I didn’t want to do it, but [have] time off now. I’ve got to basically go from here to get off the plane into the hospital to get the surgery done.”
One of Du Plessis’s resurgence in T20 cricket in recent years has been intent in the PowerPlay in the shortest format. Be it in the Indian Premier League or the SA20 or the ongoing CPL, Du Plessis has been imperious in the first six overs of the innings and has shown his power game in full range. However, the elbow injury has had an impact on his gameplay.
“[During] the last while I did feel a little bit of loss of power – all because of the pain, which sometimes pulls the power back,” du Plessis said. “So you just have to play a game where you feel like maybe hitting at 80% power, and [on] fields like this [in the CPL] a little bit smaller, you can just time the ball.”
Du Plessis’s exit means that the St. Lucia Kings will have Sikandar Raza as the new captain for the remainder of the season. Losing a key player who is also the captain is never ideal for any side but Du Plessis opined that the squad had enough leaders in the side to manage things and threw his weight behind Raza to do an efficient job.
“Raza is someone who has played a lot of T20 and T10 cricket. So very much an experienced brain there; so it’s great to have those guys on the field and ask questions. Obviously, it’s a change, and probably you could say a big change because it’s someone stepping into the shoes for the first time with the St Lucia Kings. But luckily, we’ve got someone like Sammy there who will make sure for the first one or two games there will be some direction from his side. And then trust the guy on the field with the resources that he has at his disposal.”
“Always for me, it’s about pulling people in for the journey, and try and ask questions. And I feel that’s the best way, according to me, to run things,” du Plessis said. “You use the resources that you have. Roston Chase has been great. For me on the field, [it’s] just speaking to him about local players and asking questions. Johnson Charles is a great cricket brain. He’s not a guy who says a lot, but [is] a great thinker.