"The obvious one for me is the IPL," said du Plessis. "The IPL is just before the World Cup, and the last thing you want is one of your bowlers getting injured just before the tournament. That's something that's a concern for us, seeing how we can play that scenario out best.
"With Dale [Steyn], or KG [Rabada] or any other bowlers, in terms of workload, the World Cup is still quite a while away. Probably you'll see that closer to the World Cup we'll think about stuff like [managing workloads]."
Du Plessis isn’t the only one concerned as Cricket Australia spoke along the same lines in November last year and said that the Australian players’ involvement in the cash-rich competition would be limited.
It is believed that this is the reason behind Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) letting go of Mitchell Starc’s services.
The Proteas captain is part of the defending champions Chennai Super Kings and will work closely with teammates Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir. While Steyn isn’t part of the IPL this year, Rabada will turn out for the Delhi Capitals along with Chris Morris, and the new kid on the block Anrich Nortje has been picked up by KKR.
Morris’ injury in the IPL is the kind of thing the South African side will want to avoid as he has since missed games against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
Rabada, South Africa’s highest Test wicket-taker last year, is key to their bowling attack and has admitted to feeling tired in the recent months. Given the series against Sri Lanka ends on March 24, it will allow Rabada very little down time before the IPL which ends close to two weeks before their opening game against England on May 30.
"I've been feeling a bit tired the past three months," Rabada said. "But it's been getting better. That's a positive. [I'm] gradually getting there. Hopefully, I peak at the right time [against Pakistan]."
Du Plessis also added that player workload and the fitness of his fast bowlers for the World Cup is something he thinks about often, but highlighted the importance of focusing on the present.
"That's certainly something that's always at the back of my head. I can only speak from a personal point of view. You're continuously thinking about the decisions, and stuff that will impact that. But it's also important to stay in the present. If you look at the World Cup the whole time, you'll lose sight of what's going on in front of you. So there is that little bit of thinking ahead, but unfortunately, it's too far out to start making decisions now that will impact then."
First Published: January 4, 2019, 4:26 PM IST