Moments after South Africa were eliminated from the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, skipper Faf du Plessis blamed the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the team's failure to qualify for the semi-finals of CWC 2019. He revealed that the South Africa team management had tried to stop fast bowler Kagiso Rabada from taking part in the IPL in order to keep him fit for CWC19. But could not make it happen. Plessis mentioned the poor form of both Rabada and Lungi Ngidi as one of the reasons South Africa failed to qualify for the semi-finals and were knocked out of the tournament with two games left to play. Pakistan vs South Africa: Loss to Pak Borderline Embarrassing; Our Show in CWC 2019 Mediocre, Says Faf du Plessis.
South Africa crushed out of CWC 2019 following their 49-run defeat to Pakistan at Lord’s which was their fifth defeat in seven games leaving them in the ninth position in the table standings with just three points in their kitty. Their campaign was severely hampered by the injuries to their key bowlers while the poor form of important players also meant South Africa only managed to record one win in seven games.
Rabada, an important part of the Proteas’ bowling attack and their leader in the absence of Dale Steyn, picked up just six wickets at an average of 50.83 from seven matches in the 2019 Cricket World Cup. He was injured during his time with the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2019. Rabada was in tremendous form in the 12th season of the IPL and picked up 25 wickets before withdrawing due to a back injury.
Asked about the workload of his prime fast bowler, du Plessis said: "I don't think we'll ever have a perfect answer for that because he's probably biting on too much. But we did try and get him not to go to the IPL; to try and stay and get fresh. That wasn't the case of -- and then when he went there, we were like, let's try and get him back halfway through the IPL because it's important, not just for him, but a few other players.”
"I mean, I spoke about it before the IPL even started, that it's important that we try and find space to rest our three-format players, because they play all the formats all the time, and then IPL,” he added when asked if fatigue played an important role in Rabada’s poor form.
“So I don't think it's not necessarily just the IPL, but it was important for a few guys to rest; and the fact that they didn't mean that they — you know, they came into the tournament not fresh. That's not an excuse; that's just a fact. And KG is — you can see that his pace is probably a little bit down from where he normally is.
"But that challenge we are going to have as a team all the time. You can't, unfortunately, go back with the national side and say to KG: Listen, you're going to rest for the next two series'. He's such a big player for the team; it's a difficult thing to do. You know, you need guys...you need three or four or five bowlers in the wings waiting, so you can have a bit of a rotation system.
"I mean, that was the plan with Anrich [Nortje] in the back-up and pipeline, and he got injured, as well. So, therefore, all our pace is gone and there's so much responsibility on KG to carry that load of being the lone fast bowler."
South Africa only managed to beat Afghanistan from their seven matches in the 2019 Cricket World Cup while losing to hosts England, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand and South Africa. Their fourth game against West Indies was abandoned due to rain.