Faf du Plessis is a competitor. That’s the kind of thing people say. It’s a shorthand way of saying that he only seems capable of playing to his full potential when there’s a stronger taste of conflict to proceedings.
Performing in what is never called the crucible of county cricket, du Plessis didn’t really make any runs. Quite often he fails to do so in Tests too.
Then there are the good days, when he looks cut from a different cloth. Nothing silky. It would be some sort of high quality durable fabric, possibly with water repellent properties and a rough finish.
Psyched up for his Test debut, he made 110 not out off 376 balls to earn South Africa a draw after they’d been 45-4. Today, having spent the week being harangued for being a ‘guilty‘ man, he made a hundred in a day-night Test when everyone else struggled.
This particular adrenaline-sharpened form of Faf didn’t even get hit in the nads.