NEW Northern Superchargers captain Francois du Plessis says Yorkshire’s current form in the Vitality Blast will be of huge importance to his side’s success in the forthcoming Hundred competition, starting later this month.

The South African international has replaced Aaron Finch at the helm for the Emerald Headingley based men's side, with the Australian one of several big names to pull out of the new competition at short notice.

A vastly experienced and prolific batsman across all formats of the game, Faf, as he is universally known, is “extremely excited” by the prospect of getting his teeth stuck into 100-ball cricket:

“It’s fresh, which is a great thing to be a part of,” said the 36-year-old Pretorian.

“There are still a lot of small details which I need to understand a lot better, especially being captain. I need to make sure I don’t make too many mistakes with all the new rules.

“It’s pretty cool. I’m a fan of trying new things, and I think we’ll really enjoy the format.”

The Superchargers will boast seven Yorkshire players; Harry Brook, Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Jordan Thompson and David Willey.

All-rounder Thompson was the latest to be announced on Friday morning as a replacement for injured England fast bowler Olly Stone.

The confidence Yorkshire are playing with at the moment is best exemplified by Thompson’s performances, which have seen him star with bat and ball in the Blast.

“Form and momentum are the two things that carry teams in these little tournament modes,” said du Plessis, a player with 248 career T20 appearances under his belt.

“You don’t have a lot of time together to prepare.

“So I always find it’s about how many players can hit those purple patches for you.

“If you’ve got Yorkshire playing red hot cricket at the moment and you’ve got seven guys with us who are carrying that confidence, it can only be a really great asset.”

Du Plessis played the last of his 69 Tests in February and has since retired from that format.

He remains available for one-day and T20 international cricket, though he chuckled: “It’s complicated.

“I’m retired from Test cricket and currently taking a break from ODIs.

“The chats with Cricket South Africa were that with the 50-over World Cup only being in 2023, there’s no real point in me playing too many one-dayers right now. It’s more about giving some young guys opportunities.

“After the Hundred, for T20s and the World Cup I’m available.”

He has been drafted in as a replacement for Australian Finch from the replacement list of players.

“I was part of the group of players who was asked to put my name in the hat when the tournament originally launched,” he explained.

“But because of the international demands of three formats, I just didn’t have the time to be available.

“The same thing last year when it was going to happen. I could have put my name forward.

“But it was only recently when the replacement list became available and I’d retired from Test cricket that I had a bit of free time to go and play some T20 cricket or whatever. I’m excited.

“It’s going to be very tactical by the looks of it. But it’s great for me that there’s going to be some experience around me - someone like Ben Stokes.

“It’s all fresh and new, so I don’t think anybody really knows how to go about it.

“It’s going to be about sitting down before the tournament and working out the small tactical changes which can have a huge impact.”

Du Plessis has had previous experience in county cricket.

Whisper it quietly, he first came over as a Kolpak player with Lancashire in 2008 and had two seasons at Emirates Old Trafford.

He then had a very brief spell as Kent’s overseas player in 2019 and played in their landslide County Championship win at Emerald Headingley when Darren Stevens dominated.

He joined Lancashire aged 23 and prior to his international career.

“I’d always been a better performer in white ball cricket than I had red,” he said. “But what that time gave me was the knowledge that I was way off where I needed to be to get to Test cricket.

“I was chucked into the deep end as a young guy facing a swinging Dukes ball. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m way off - I need to improve’. My technique needed up-skilling.

“I’ve always been white ball dominant. In my time there I had some really good white ball performances. But the consistency has really grown in my game over the last 10 years.

“Look at my T20 one-day international and domestic record, there is a consistency to it.

“I’m also grateful to be able to play in as many leagues as possible. 10 years in the IPL (Chennai Super Kings) has been a great learning curve for me.”

As well as his batting, his electric fielding is an area of his game which will wow spectators and no doubt help team-mates over the next couple of months.

“It’s going to be super important,” he added. “It’s getting more and more important as the game’s growing.

“It’s almost a case of picking a guy for his fielding skills now.

“We will be putting a huge emphasis on making sure we’re a top drawer fielding team.”