TELFORD VICE in Cape Town
ONLY weeks ago the Delhi Daredevils were awash with South Africans heading into this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League.
That was before JP Duminy withdrew from the tournament citing “personal reasons”.
Faf du Plessis decoded that last month as Duminy’s desire to “get some time with family and move away from the game a little bit, and get some time to focus on doing well for South Africa”.
Considering Duminy scored 104 runs in six innings in South Africa’s test series in New Zealand, that seems a sensible decision.
Then another Daredevil, Quinton de Kock, was ruled out with a finger injury.
That he played in the third test in Hamilton despite the injury will hearten those who want to see cricketers choose country over club more often in these mercenary times.
With that went half of Delhi’s contingent of South African players, but they still have Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris.
Rabada will make his debut in the tournament and is sure to be the focus of much attention in an event not short on hype.
Of the other seven franchises, four don’t have South Africans on their books.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are staffed by AB de Villiers and Tabraiz Shamsi, while David Miller and Hashim Amla are with the Punjab Kings XI, and Du Plessis is at the Rising Pune Supergiant.
South Africans watching from home might want to keep an eye out Shamsi in the tournament opener between the Sunrisers and RCB in Hyderabad at 4.30pm (South African team) on Wednesday.
De Villiers won’t be in action because of the back injury that also kept him out of the Titans’ XI for the One-Day Cup final against the Warriors in Centurion on Friday.
“He still has some minor discomfort and we felt that couple of days off would be best before we have him back in action,” Daredevils coach Daniel Vettori told reporters in India.
“We hope to see him on the field in good form by the 8 April match against Delhi Daredevils.”
Du Plessis could feature in Pune’s home game against the Mumbai Indians on Thursday.
Saturday’s double-header could pit Miller and Amla against Du Plessis, and – should he recover – De Villiers and Shamsi against Rabada and Morris.
De Villiers is due to captain RCB in the absence of Virat Kohli, who is out with a shoulder problem.