Francois Du Plessis is determined to learn from fellow South african Ashwell Prince when the pair face up to their old county Nottinghamshire at Old Trafford tomorrow.
Du Plessis was offered a contract by Notts after impressing in their second team in 2006, but opted to turn it down. Now he wants to prove to them what kind of player he is when Lancashire face up to the Trent Bridge side in the County Championship at Old Trafford tomorrow.
The 24 year-old Pretorian batsman delayed his decision to become a Kolpak by a little over 12 months, signing an initial one-year deal with the Red Rose county shortly after spending a summer in the Lancashire League with Todmorden.
After a promising 2008 with Lancashire, du Plessis decided to commit to being a Kolpak by accepting Mike Watkinson’s offer of a new three-year contract.
He excelled in one-day cricket for the Lightning last year, but struggled to adapt to the longer format of the game mainly because the juicy pitches got the better of him more often than not.
But, as fate would have it, his most prolific LV Division One Championship game came against Notts at Old Trafford last season, when he notched a half-century in either innings of a compelling draw. And just a couple of weeks later he recorded an unbeaten fifty in a Twenty20 Cup group game at Trent Bridge.
Du Plessis, who also plays for the Nashua Titans in South Africa, said: “It is the same for any player who moves from a county, he always wants to prove to them how good a player he is. For me, with Notts, having turned down the opportunity to play there, I need to prove to them every time what kind of a player they are missing out on.”
Du Plessis, who hit 58, shared an unbroken third wicket partnership of 148 with compatriot Ashwell Prince to confirm the Championship win at Sussex last week. And he believes Prince, who also spent at brief spell with Nottinghamshire as their overseas player last summer, could play a big part in his development over the next month or so.
“I have never played with Ash in the same team before,” said Faf. “We have always played against each other, abusing one another for fun. To bat with him, for me, is a big learning step. He has got years and years of experience, and he is one of the best batsmen in the world.
“The one thing he does so well is his conversion rates. When he gets to fifty, it is very hard to get him out. That is exactly what I want to try and emulate as quickly as possible.”
Du Plessis has made no secret that his short term aim is to collect his maiden century for Lancashire. He will be desperate for it to come this week.
Nottinghamshire, who also won their opening round four-day fixture last week, will be without Stuart Broad and almost certainly Darren Pattinson. They will, however, field England left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom as he continues his recovery from injury.
[Lancashire squad news]
Photo: Simon Pendrigh
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd