Plessis eyeing ODI series against India to seal WC berth

Durban: Rookie South African all-rounder Faf du Plessis is eager to impress upon the national selectors during the five-match ODI series against India, beginning here on Wednesday to secure his place in the World Cup-bound Protea squad.

Plessis and Pakistan-born Imran Tahir, who recently got South African citizenship, were named by the selectors in the 14-man squad for the ODI series against India.

The 26-year-old Plessis caught the attention of selectors with a strong performance in the domestic MTN40 tournament, where he emerged as the tournament`s leading run-scorer with 567 runs, including three centuries, at an average of 81.

"I can honestly say it`s been the highlight of my whole life so far. I am really, really excited to be here. The guys have been awesome. From the first day it feels like I`ve been part of them for a long time," said Plessis.

"It`s been an awesome week but, for me now, it`s just to take it day by day," said the Proteas batsman in a press conference here today.

Plessis` call-up to the national team was followed by his selection in the Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for USD 120,000 at the two-day players` auction that concluded in Bangalore yesterday.

Asked about the prospect of playing under India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is the skipper of CSK in the IPL, Plessis said, "So far I have not spoken to Dhoni. I just know that he is the captain, a very well respected captain and for me to play under one of the better captains in the world, I am really looking forward to it."

Asked about big names not finding a favour with the franchises for the fourth edition of the Twenty20 League, the right-handed batsman said the consortiums have done so to balance their side and groom youngsters for future.

"The IPL teams want to have good balance in the side. They need to have experienced and young guys who can run around and make noises and I am happy to play that role. They want to balance the teams nicely with youth and experience. They want to groom youngsters for three or four years time," he said.

Plessis, known in the domestic circuit as a powerful striker of the ball, said he will perform to his fullest if given an opportunity to make his ODI debut at Kingsmead here.

"India are number one side in Tests. It`s nice to play against the best in the world and see how good you really are. I am looking forward to it," he said.

"I am now excited to be play for South Africa. It`s the highlight of my career. When IPL comes that will be another highlight for me," the useful leg-spinner added.

He also thanked South Africa captain Graeme Smith and his team-mates for making it comfortable for him.

"For me, it`s awesome to see how quickly the guys take you in and make you part of the family. Smith`s first words were to congratulate and say well done and you`re part of my family," Plessis said.


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