Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis made a stunning revelation in his autobiography Faf: Through Fire, saying that the reason he retired from Test cricket after his relationship with former teammate and head coach Mark Boucher completely broke down.
Faf du Plessis claimed that Boucher, Graeme Smith, CSA’s former director of cricket, and convener of selectors Victor Mpitsang ghosted him when he made himself available for the T20 team following his Test retirement in February 2021.
The right-handed batter, who had led South Africa in the 2019 World Cup, says that his final phases with the national side started when Mark Boucher took over as head coach for a home series against England in December 2019. Du Plessis writes that the series “felt different” from previous ones because he did not feel backed by Boucher when he faced a media barrage.
When Mark Boucher Attended A Press Conference While This Storm Was Raging, He Didn’t Do That: Faf Du Plessis On Supporting Him As Captain In Media Storm
Du Plessis had said that South Africa didn’t see color when Temba Bavuma, the side’s only black cricketer had been dropped from the side after a poor run of form. Du Plessis was slammed in the media for his comment and was severely criticized for not understanding the nuances of South Africa’s segregated past.
Faf writes in the book that he did not feel Smith or Boucher provided him with the support he needed then, which set the tone for the rest of their relationship.
“I needed someone to back me up in the media, and Graeme and Mark were best positioned to clear the air and show public support for their national captain who was dealing with head- and tailwinds simultaneously. When Mark attended a press conference while this storm was raging, he didn’t do that,” du Plessis writes.
Later when asked about his future for Proteas by Boucher, Faf committed to all three formats, but took a break in ODIs, and with the 2023 ODI World Cup sometime in the future, he quit as ODI captain. Boucher also asked du Plessis if he would give up the T20 captaincy but du Plessis writes he was “not convinced that relinquishing the T20 captaincy was the right decision”.
Du Plessis writes that he discovered that Smith and Boucher “felt strongly about appointing Quinton de Kock as captain in both white-ball formats. He felt that Mark Boucher and he didn’t connect and stepped down as Test captain in February 2020.