South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has denied reports that he will retire after the Test series against England.
The hosts lost by an innings and 53 runs in Port Elizabeth on Monday – their seventh loss in eight Tests – to go 2-1 down in the four-match series.
Batsman Du Plessis, 35, said: “I’ve heard the rumours of possible retirement.
“I’ve been pretty clear and consistent with the message that the T20 World Cup is the timeframe that I’m looking for.”
The Twenty20 World Cup in Australia runs from 18 October to 15 November.
Du Plessis has scored 113 runs at an average of 18.83 in the series, has not passed 36 in his past nine innings and has not made a century for more than a year.
After the final Test in Johannesburg which starts on Friday, South Africa play only two more Tests – in the West Indies in July and August – before the T20 World Cup.
“There’s not a lot of Test cricket for the rest of the year, but for me, as the captain, it’s important that we keep driving forward and making sure that we’re applying ourselves,” said Du Plessis, who took over from AB de Villiers in 2017.
“From a performance point of view, me and the team are feeling the pressure of not performing to the standard that we should, but we’ll keep trying and keep fighting.”
Asked after the fourth day’s play in Port Elizabeth whether Du Plessis would retire after the series, South Africa coach Mark Boucher said: “I’ve got no clue. He hasn’t said anything. I don’t think so.”
South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada is banned for the fourth Test following his celebration to Joe Root’s wicket at St George’s Park.
Fourth in the International Cricket Council Test bowling rankings, 24-year-old Rabada is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 14 at 28.92 apiece.
Du Plessis said: “Losing Rabada is a big frustration – he’s our best bowler. We’re a little light and inexperienced and he’ll be a huge loss.
“But we can’t make excuses. We have to regroup, have firm chats and keep moving forward.”
Article courtesy of BBC Sport