Faf du Plessis forced his way into the Proteas’ ODI line-up during the 2010/11 season through share weight of runs when he hit 3 centuries and made more than 500 runs in the domestic 40 overs competition. He carried this form into his debut ODI against India with a half-century and can look back on satisfactory career statistics with a strike rate of 83 after 47 matches including being a regular choice throughout the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
He had an outstanding 2012 IPL campaign with the Chennai Super Kings in the new role of opening batsman and consequently played in the unofficial T20 series in Zimbabwe. He subsequently made his T20 International debut against England and was selected for the ICC World Twenty20 squad.
He took another important step forward when he was called up to the Castle Lager Test squad for the series in England and retained his place for the following tour to Australia. On this tour he made a memorable debut, batting for eight hours in the second innings to become the fourth Protea to score a Test century on debut. This played a major role in saving the Test match. He then helped set up victory in the following Test match with an unbeaten innings of 70 not out to halt a first innings collapse. He finished his maiden series with an average of 146.50 from an aggregate of 293 runs.
He scored his second Test century in only his fourth match against New Zealand to equal the career start of Graeme Pollock.
His third century followed against India and was an epic repeat of the Adelaide effort as he first put South Africa in a position to save a match which they almost won after being set a world record fourth innings chase of 458. This latest effort gave him a lofty career average of 60.
Faf was always destined for greater things after making his under-19 debut for South Africa on the tour of England in 2003. His career was, however, put on hold for 3 years as he developed his game playing for Lancashire from 2008 to 2010. It proved a worthwhile exercise as his potential was quickly spotted once he became available for the Proteas again.
In addition to his batting skills, he is one of the best all-round fielders in the country and bowls part-time leg-breaks to complete an excellent limited overs package.
His leadership skills were acknowledged when he was made captain of the T20 squad at the start of the three-match series against New Zealand in 2012/13. He has also captained the ODI squad as a stand-in for AB de Villiers.