For South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, the recognition he received for his efforts as a player rather than as a captain has been particularly moving.
Du Plesssis was named South African Cricketer of the Year, SA Players’ Player of the Year and Standard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) awards function held in Pretoria over the weekend.
The national skipper was the biggest winner at the ceremony held at the Maslow Time Square Hotel and, speaking afterwards, the 35-year-old said he felt really special to be recognised so strongly.
“Getting the recognition of my peers is really special,” he said.
“I've been to the awards a few times now, been nominated in a few categories and won a few trophies here and there, but never have I won the Players’ Player of the Year and that, in itself, especially as a captain, makes it even more special for me.
“Obviously, the players recognise your performance, but as a leader that makes me extremely proud of that trophy. I've always strived for greatness more as a leader rather than as a player.”
Although South Africa disappointed at the World Cup, Du Plessis led from the front in one-day internationals, scoring more than 1 100 runs in his last 26 matches, a run that has included three centuries and six half-centuries.
At Test level, he recorded one ton and two 50s in four matches.
“To be honest, when I was a bit younger, I never really thought it would be me standing there winning the Players’ Player award,” he explained.
“As I said, I've always seen myself as being the leader and playing more of an important role, compared to actually being a great player, so I'm extremely happy.
“The last two or three years, there's been a good consistency about my game and I'm really happy to get some recognition for it.”
The South Africa captain also spoke about his time away from the limelight after the World Cup in England, saying it has been refreshing and added that he looked forward to playing for the Proteas in the future.
“It's been a nice break to get away from the game a little bit,” he added.
“Playing for the Proteas, even though it was disappointing how I felt after the World Cup, the specialness of playing for this team is still there. And I do feel there's a huge drive from me still to play for this team.
“Hopefully, there are some really good things ahead for this team, and for me with the team as well.”African News Agency