Injured Du Plessis taking no risks ahead of Australia tour

By Sports Desk August 10, 2018

Faf du Plessis may sit out South Africa's limited-overs fixtures against Zimbabwe due to the shoulder injury that cut short his tour of Sri Lanka.

The Proteas captain damaged his right shoulder attempting to take a catch during the third one-dayer of the series in Pallekele last Sunday.

The batsman will be absent for the final two games – as well as the one-off Twenty20 fixture - against Sri Lanka but has revealed he may not return in time to face Zimbabwe on home soil.

South Africa host their neighbours for a trio of one-day internationals - the first of which takes place in Kimberley on September 30 – and also a three-match Twenty20 series, but Du Plessis is determined to make sure he is fully fit for the tour of Australia that follows later in the year.

He said: "It's important to get the shoulder as strong as possible. Playing against Zimbabwe would be nice but an extra few weeks [of recovery] would be good.

"I was under pressure before the India series but I managed to get through it. No disrespect to Zimbabwe but there's a lot cricket still to be played. The long-term goal is the most important thing."

Quinton de Kock took over as skipper in the absence of Du Plessis, who arrived back in South Africa on Friday.

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    David Warner was also heckled by fans in their first match against England since returning from a one-year suspension for their part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

    Smith, who made 116 from 102 balls a week before Australia start their World Cup defence against Afghanistan, was unfazed by the abuse he received.

    "I heard a few things as I went out to bat, but it didn't really get to me. I'm kind of just trying to keep my head down and move straight ahead and just do my job," Smith said.

    "Fortunately, I was able to score a few runs for the team and, more importantly, spend some time in the middle before our first game of the World Cup."

    Smith added: "It doesn't bother me, it's just doing my job and I know that I've got the support of my team-mates up on the balcony and that's the most important thing. If I can make them proud out in the middle and make Australians proud as much as I can, well, that's my job.

    "I just blank it out. They call it white noise. When I am out there I pay no attention to the crowd and just move on with playing the game."

    Smith said he had not been on the receiving end of hostility from the public in England prior to the match at the home of Hampshire.

    "No, it's been really good I haven't copped any which is really nice. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion and how they want to treat people, but it is water off a duck's back," he said. 

    "I'll just do my own thing and just keep working hard to play hard."

    England were all out for 285 in the final over in reply to 297-9, with concerns over a foot injury suffered by Mark Wood. Jofra Archer also suffered an injury scare but was able to bat.

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