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Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, has announced that he is retiring from Test cricket with immediate effect. Du Plessis retires from the format having played 69 Tests for South Africa, scoring 4163 runs at 40.02, including 10 centuries.
Du Plessis, 36, made the announcement on Instagram on Thursday, following footsteps of his Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni.
"It has been a year of refinement in the fire for us all," the 36-year-old wrote. "Uncertain were the times, but they brought clarity for me in many respects. My heart is clear and the time is right to walk into a new chapter. It has been an honour to play for my country in all the forms of the game, but the time has come for me to retire from Test cricket," he said in a statement on Instagram.
Du Plessis made his Test debut in 2012 against Australia, and immediately made a mark, scoring a match-saving century in the fourth innings in Adelaide. After establishing himself as one of the linchpins of South Africa's middle order, he took over captaincy from AB de Villiers and led the team in 36 Tests, winning 18 and losing 15. After Graeme Smith and Hansie Cronje, du Plessis has led South Africa in most Test matches.
"If someone had told me 15 years ago, that I would play 69 Test matches for South Africa and captained the side, I wouldn’t have believed them," he wrote.
"I stand in a place of utmost gratitude for a Test career bull of blessings bestowed on me. Every high and low has shaped me into the man I am proud to stand as today. In all things, those instances worked towards the good of who I believe I am today."
Du Plessis however reiterated that he will remain available for selection in the limited-overs format. South Africa had a torrid run under him in the 2019 World Cup, winning three out of nine matches and with back-to-back T20 World Cups on the horizon, du Plessis is looking forward to the grand ICC events.
"The next two years are ICC T20 World Cup years. Because of this, my focus is shifting to this format and I wanted to play as much of it as possible around the world so that I can be the best player I can possibly be," Du Plessis went on
"I strongly believe that I have a lot to offer to the Proteas in this format. This does not mean that ODI cricket is no longer in the plans, I’m just making T20 cricket the priority in the short term."
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