Faf du Plessis and Graeme Smith share an embrace during happier times. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Former Proteas star slams Smith, Boucher in autobiography

Faf du Plessis has shared dramatic insights into the strained past relationship between himself, Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith.


Faf du Plessis and Graeme Smith share an embrace during happier times. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Du Plessis, who played 69 Tests, 143 ODIs and 50 T20s for the Proteas, has shared several shock insights about his career in his autobiography, “Faf: Through Fire“, which will soon be released.

Although Du Plessis retired from Test cricket in 2020, he said he was available for white-ball cricket and stated that he wanted to play in the next two T20 World Cups.


However, he was first overlooked last year for the T20 World Cup despite still showing good form in the IPL. At that time, former director of cricket Graeme Smith said talks had been held with 37-year-old Faf du Plessis, but stated it was not possible to reach agreement with the former captain who was regarded as a “free agent” as he is no longer contracted to CSA.

In his book, Du Plessis says he “got no love” from coach Boucher or Smith towards the end of his international career.

One reference relates to the ODI series against England in January 2020, when Du Plessis and Boucher decided he would take a break, and Quinton de Kock took over the leadership. When Smith announced the squad for the series, he made no mention of the details of that decision, which Du Plessis said was difficult to stomach.

“He [Smith] made no mention of me taking a break during that one-day series or that I was still the T20 captain,” Du Plessis writes.   “Given the unfavourable picture painted of me in recent media coverage, it was assumed that I had been stripped of the captaincy and kicked from the team. After the team announcement, I sent a message to Graeme and said I was disappointed and didn’t feel I had their support. 

“They never gave the impression that they were fighting for me. It would have made life easier if he had simply said: ‘Faf is taking a break from one-day cricket, but he is still our Test and T20 captain.’ By not doing so, he has created a new media monster.”

The former captain notably described Boucher as an exceptional technical coach, but says he paid little attention to the “softer skills” – like emotional support for the players, the team culture and honest conversations about his plans.


Ultimately, Du Plessis said he “truly felt alone in the Protea environment”.

“At the end of the Test series against England (in 2020), I questioned whether my flame still burned as brightly as before. My desire to lead and my fire to play for the Proteas was slowly smothered. Mark and I didn’t click either … I began to understand that it would be better for the team to have a new captain, rather than someone who could not connect with the coach.”

Du Plessis then toured Pakistan before deciding to retire from Test cricket. When he tried to arrange a conversation with Boucher to inform him, the coach did not respond.

“His silence confirmed to me that the decision to retire from Test cricket was the right one,” he wrote. “What really brought it home to me was that even my biggest opponent, David Warner [of Australia] sent me a kind message to congratulate me on my Test career.”

Most recently, Du Plessis was also overlooked for the current T20 World Cup in Australia, despite being in excellent form at franchise level.



Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Marco Jansen (Gbets Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Gbets Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Rilee Rossouw (ITEC Knights), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Tristan Stubbs (Gbets Warriors).

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