At 34 years of age, Faf du Plessis is one of South Africa’s most consistent right-handed batsmen, and has proved himself a leader in the sport of cricket as the current captain of the national team. Having made his Test debut in November 2012, he soon became the fourth South African to score a Test century in his debut.
With a highly successful career spanning seven years and multiple nations, du Plessis has not forgotten where he places his trust and significance.
I grew up playing most sports in school, but cricket was always my No. 1. As I began to play internationally, I quickly learned that, like with any sport at this level, you are guaranteed to have highs and lows. Now that I’m more experienced in my career, I have learned to be a lot more consistent in both the highs and the lows, not only in cricket, but in life. I treat my personal successes the same as my failures — as opportunities to grow and learn.
I grew up thinking of myself as a Christian, but it was more of a religion to me. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, so nothing ever took root in my heart. It was only when I began on a journey with a pastor — now a friend of mine — who explained to me what Jesus’ love really looks like. Once I understood this powerful truth, I chose to get baptized. My heart instantly changed as I gave my life to Christ and started understanding the truths of God much more clearly. As I found a new completeness in Christ — something I had never experienced before — I wanted to change the way I lived my life to be in alignment with these truths.
Initially, it was hard to grasp the concept of giving your career and performance over to God, trusting Him in whatever happens on the cricket field, whether that results in success or failure. But now, as I have grown in my faith and knowledge of God’s sovereignty, I truly believe that He has put me here for a reason. I have a purpose in Him.
There are a few challenges I face as a Christ-follower in this sport. The first one is the environment I find myself in. There are many cricket players who come from different beliefs and faiths, and in many teams, I have been the only Christ-follower. That can be quite lonely in the sense that I don’t have people there for support or just to pray with. The second struggle is the temptations we face. Because we travel a lot all around the world, there arises many situations where you face group pressure to do something you shouldn’t. But as I grow stronger and more mature in my faith, the easier it is to say no.
I know the reason I have success in this sport is solely due to Jesus and I thank Him every day for that. When my career is done, I want to be remembered as a very good leader who challenged other players to be the best they can be. I also want to be known as someone who stood up for what they believed in.
Lastly, I want to have a positive influence on our country. I know that my purpose is about more than the runs I score on the cricket field. I hope to be able to spend time with people to show them the love of Jesus and see His love shine through them as well.
— Faf du Plessis, South African cricketeer