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Former South Africa skipper hints at return for T20 World Cup

Former South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has revealed he is considering a comeback to international cricket in time for next year's ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

Du Plessis hasn't played an international match since he appeared for South Africa in the second Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in 2021 and his last white-ball clash for his country was at T20I contest against England in Cape Town at the end of 2020.

But the 39-year-old has been performing well at domestic level in recent times and was second behind only Shubman Gill for the most runs at this year's edition of the Indian Premier League when he contributed 730 runs for Royal Challengers Bangalore from 14 innings.

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Du Plessis is currently in Abu Dhabi participating in another domestic tournament and has indicated he has been in discussions with new South Africa white-ball coach Rob Walter surrounding a potential return to the international fold prior to the start of the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies in the middle of next year.

"I believe that I can return to international cricket," du Plessis said.

"We have been speaking about this for the last couple of years. It's just figuring out the balance of the T20 World Cup next year. It's certainly something we have spoken about with the new coach."

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Du Plessis captained South Africa during two T20 World Cup campaigns in 2014 and 2016, but wasn't considered for the last two editions of the tournament despite the fact he has never officially retired from international white-ball cricket.

Walter left the door open for the potential return of du Plessis and a host of other experienced players recently when he mentioned a group of players that weren't considered for South Africa's upcoming tour of India.

“Given that some of our frontline bowlers are missing out and there are guys - let me throw it out there just to create some media hype - like Faf (du Plessis) and Rilee (Rossouw) as well as Quinny (de Kock) that could well be considered for a T20 World Cup,” Walter said.

“And then also the (South African domestic tournament) SA20 that happens next year - 80 percent of the side picks itself but there is definitely a space for other guys to get themselves into the conversation."

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Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis both scored centuries as South Africa posted 411/4 against Ireland at the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

While du Plessis no longer holds a central playing contract with South Africa, he has 23 international centuries to his name across the three formats and believes he is still in good enough shape to return to playing cricket for his country.

"I do a lot of hard work to ensure I look after my body to be able to play this brilliant game we love so much," he added.

"When you do get a little bit older, you have to make sure you put in the work. 

"Otherwise, the hamstring and other body parts do not work that well. 

"There is a lot of fast running and a lot of stuff to make sure that level where you can play against the best players in the world.”