du Plessis’ BPL wishlist: win the tournament, contribute in wins, be one of the top scorers

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“I also want to share my experience with the guys from a batting and captaincy point of view”

Faf du Plessis, who reached Bangladesh three days before the start of the 2022 Bangladesh Premier League to start training with his Comilla Victorians team-mates, said it was the team’s stellar record in the competition – they are two-time winners – that made it an attractive prospect for him.

“You want to go to franchises that are successful,” du Plessis said of Comilla, who face Sylhet Sunrisers in their opening game on Saturday after having missed the 2018-19 season. “Winning trophies is a big part of why we play the sport. But I also want to share my experience with the guys from a batting and captaincy point of view. I want to play a role in assisting there as much as I can.

“This team has done very well, winning trophies. That’s why it was a nice fit for me. It is a very relaxed group with a very relaxed coach [Mohammad Salahuddin]. Things look very good. Playing the IPL, PSL and BPL is about becoming a more experienced and mature player all around the world.”

The former South Africa captain, one of the biggest names in this edition of the BPL, has set his priorities for the tournament, including trying to finish among the top-scorers in the competition. “The first goal will be to win the tournament. The second goal is to contribute in every game as a batter. Towards the end of the competition, be up there with the leading run-scorers.”

The BPL is taking place in tough times, with the Covid-19 pandemic on a surge in Bangladesh. There has been a 29-fold increase in positive cases since January 1, as well as a positivity rate that shot to 26% on January 20.

“I think the most important thing is that we are here, and the tournament is starting,” du Plessiss said. “It is obviously a challenge during the Covid pandemic to get a tournament up and running. Well done to everyone to make sure it is happening.

“The other day, we had to leave the hotel at seven o’clock to practice. I said to the guys, ‘I retired not to do this anymore, and now you are taking me to practice early in the morning’.”

Faf du Plessis

“A tournament like this, it is important how you start because some guys are coming in without playing much cricket. Confidence in a short tournament is very important.”

There was a note of caution for his team-mates, though. “Cricket is not played on paper. I have played enough teams to know that,” du Plessis said. “There’s a lot of strong players and teams in the tournament. We have to make sure we play well and to our potential. We do that, we will be there and thereabouts by the end of the tournament.

“You try to find your balance at the beginning of the competition, what’s the right team to pick. As the tournament progresses, we will get to our best team.”

Having retired from Tests in February 2021, du Plessis is now a T20 freelancer despite being available for selection in South Africa’s short-format teams.

“It is nice to play T20s. You don’t have to wake up at seven o’clock in the morning to play a Test match,” he said. “The other day though, we had to leave the hotel at seven o’clock to practice. I said to the guys, ‘I retired not to do this anymore, and now you are taking me to practice early in the morning’.

“T20 is great, you play a lot of games. Tournaments are short – four weeks, in and out. You get to do what you love.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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