Francois 'Faf' du Plessis was one of the four inexperienced players to be named in South Africa's 30-man preliminary squad for the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, thanks to an impressive half-century on ODI debut against India earlier that year. He was subsequently selected in the 15-man squad. The seven games he played in the tournament did not help him transpire his talent into performance as he managed to surpass 50 just once.
In 2008, du Plessis was given a six-month contract with Lancashire after impressing the board with good performances in local tournaments. He was known as one of the best fielders in county cricket, vouched by Lancashire coach Mike Watkinson. South Africa were in danger of losing another talented cricketer to England but a strong show in the 2010 domestic season was rewarded with a call-up against India in early 2011.
du Plessis, who was hardly known in India, took everyone by surprise when he was signed by Chennai for the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League, ahead of experienced cricketing stars like Brian Lara, Sourav Ganguly and Chris Gayle. The South African had a good first season with the franchise and in 2012, was one of the most successful run-scorers for the team. The team had enough faith to retain him for the following two seasons as well.
However, a dream Test debut awaited the talented batsman later that year against the dangerous Aussies which brought him success in his first taste of the longest format of the game. du Plessis was named in South Africa's Test squad, but wasn't included in the playing eleven for the first Test. Fortunately for him, JP Duminy was ruled out due to injury and that paved the way for his debut. du Plessis showed tremendous temperament and grit as he scored a patient fifty in the first innings, followed by a gutsy maiden Test ton in the second that helped the Proteas salvage a highly unlikely draw against Australia.
In 2013, the Protea was handed full-time T20I captaincy after being the stand-in skipper for AB de Villiers in a few games.
In the Test series against Pakistan in the UAE, du Plessis was found guilty of tampering the ball, rubbing it against the zip on the pocket of his trousers. He received criticism from many around the world, but his South African team-mates stood by him, claiming that none of the acts he was reprimanded for, were intentional.