South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has said that the team management tried to stop pacer Kagiso Rabada from playing the Indian Premier League before the World Cup.

The Proteas skipper was wary of the fact that playing in the IPL would not let his players remain fresh for the ongoing World Cup in England and Wales.

South Africa are no longer in the race for the semi-finals after they suffered a 49-run loss to Pakistan on Sunday and slipped to ninth in the points table with three matches to go.

In the post-match press conference, Du Plessis was asked if he was happy with the workload of Rabada in the last three years.

“I don’t think we’ll ever have a perfect answer for that because he’s probably biting on too much,” Du Plessis said.

“But we did try and get him not to go to the IPL; to try and stay and get fresh. That wasn’t the case of – and then when he went there, we were like, let’s try and get him back halfway through the IPL because it’s important, not just for him, but a few other players.”

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Rabada played for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2019 and reached the playoffs. Other South Africa players including Du Plessis were also part of the tournament.

Quinton de Kock played for champions Mumbai Indians while Dale Steyn made a brief appearance for Royal Challengers Bangalore before getting injured and missing the World Cup.

Du Plessis thought that playing in the IPL took away the freshness of some players who were part of the 20-over mega event.

“I spoke about it before the IPL even started, that it’s important that we try and find space to rest our three-format players, because they play all the formats all the time, and then IPL,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily just the IPL, but it was important for a few guys to rest; and the fact that they didn’t meant that they – you know, they came into the tournament not fresh. That’s not an excuse; that’s just a fact. And Kagi is – you can see that his pace is probably a little bit down from where he normally is.”

South Africa had brought in Anrich Nortje as a backup for Rabada during the World Cup but unfortunately, the pacer got injured and missed the tournament. Chris Morris was brought in after Nortje’s injury.

Du Plessis added that the load on Rabada grew once Nortje was injured.

“I mean, that was the plan with Anrich in the backup and pipeline, and he got injured, as well. So there for all our pace is gone and there’s so much responsibility on Kagi to carry that load of being the lone fast bowler.”