South African captain Faf du Plessis on Monday dismissed rumours of retirement despite South Africa’s thumping loss against England in Port Elizabeth. The home side slumped to an innings loss as their batsmen couldn’t step up.
Du Plessis clarified that he is committed to play for South Africa until the T20 World Cup in October.
"There are a lot of rumours about retirement," he said after South Africa’s loss.
"I think I have been pretty clear that I have committed myself to Cricket South Africa until the T20 World Cup (in Australia in October and November)."
South Africa’s cricket has been under turmoil over the last year or so. They lost to Sri Lanka at home last year, had a disastrous World Cup campaign in England and were hammered by India on their home soil. This was now their seventh defeat in the last eight Tests, which has certainly put the captain under tremendous pressure.
"Definitely," he said when asked whether he was under more pressure than at any point of his career. He reaffirmed: "I'm not a robot."
His performance with the bat hasn’t been standout either. Since the start of India series in October last year, du Plessis has scored 255 runs in 12 innings at a mediocre average of 21.25.
"It’s a tough time but there's no running away from it," he said. "There’s no escape. I’m the leader of the team. It (pressure) comes with the job description. There was a time when it was nice and easy and everything was going our way as a team. We had a strong team and a high success ratio.”
"Now we are on the bottom side of that wave. We’ve got to go back to the office and work again."
However, he admitted that the upcoming Test at the Wanderers could be his final one on the home soil.
"I want to be the strongest leader I can be for the team and for now that's committing to this series.
"I can't leave the team when they need me most. We are in a transition but I can't do it forever. It has been chipping away at your character. For now, that's what we need. I think it will make it worse if I say I'm out."
"The worst thing a leader can do is pull the plug mid-series and say, 'Sorry boys, I’m out, I’ve had enough'. I don’t think that is what leadership is about. You have to stick through the tough times as well."
The fourth and final Test will be played from January 26.