Faf du Plessis quits the captaincy of the SA national Test and T20 teams

Faf du Plessis was appointed captain in 2012.
Faf du Plessis was appointed captain in 2012.
Image: Lefty Shivambu

It wasn’t entirely surprising but when news broke that Faf du Plessis has quit the captaincy of the national Test and T20 teams on Monday‚ it still came as a jolt.

Du Plessis has stepped down‚ apparently to help facilitate the emergence of the next generation of leaders within the squad.

Already Quinton de Kock has emerged as potential captain across all three formats in the short to medium term.

De Kock has already assumed the reins of the ODI side and he presided as captain in Du Plessis’s absence in the just completed T20 series defeat to England.

SA play only two more Tests in the West Indies later this year and De Kock may well be handed the captain’s arm band for those engagements.

The emphasis this year is on the ICC men’s T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November and Du Plessis‚ according to a statement‚ wants to “concentrate on contributing to the team as a batsman and senior player who will offer guidance and advice to the new leadership group as part of their succession planning.”

Du Plessis has captained SA in a total of 112 international matches across all three formats since December 2012 when he led the team for the very first time against New Zealand in a T20 series.

The hosts won that three-match contest 2-1. Since then‚ he has scored 5 101 runs in all formats as captain amassing 11 centuries and 28 half-centuries as he went.

He led the Proteas in several famous victories‚ including the team’s five-nil inbound ODI series and 2-1 outbound Test series victories against Australia in 2016. Du Plessis said in the statement:

“The last few weeks of rest away from the game have given me a lot of perspective on the great privilege and honour I have had in representing and leading my country in the three formats of this wonderful game. It has been a rewarding‚ sometimes tough and other times a lonely road‚ but I would not replace the experience for anything‚ because it has made me the man that I am proud to be today.

“When I took over the leadership‚ I did so with the commitment to lead‚ perform and most importantly‚ to serve. As the team heads into a new direction with new leaders and a young crop of players‚ I feel it will be in the best interests of South African cricket to relinquish the captaincy in all formats. This was one of the toughest decisions to make‚ but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton‚ Mark and my teammates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group.

“After the 2019 ICC World Cup‚ I made the decision to continue in my role as captain while the team went through a rebuilding phase following the retirement of some key senior players and a complete overhaul of the coaching staff that we had worked with until then. It was important to me that I stayed to help the team find its feet and plot a new way forward while assisting in identifying the next generation of leaders within the players’ group during a time of turbulence in SA cricket. The last season of my captaincy has been the most challenging to date as I had a lot of off-field issues that I devoted my energy towards.

“I have strived to lead the team with dignity and authenticity during exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I have given my everything during my tenure. I have never been one to throw in the towel and do believe I am putting the team first and believe we have to stick through the tough times to get to the good times.

"In a perfect world I would have loved to lead the team in the Tests for the rest of the season as well as the T20 World Cup‚ but sometimes the most important attribute of a leader is to be selfless. I am healthy‚ fit‚ energised and motivated and certainly see myself playing an important role in the squad for as long as I continue putting in winning performances for the team. “South African cricket has entered a new era. New leadership‚ new faces‚ new challenges and new strategies. I remain committed to play in all three formats of the game for now as a player and will offer my knowledge and time to the new leaders of the team.

“Finally‚ I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported me in my captaincy throughout the years – my wife and daughter‚ family‚ teammates‚ Proteas coaching staff‚ management and selectors‚ CSA Board and staff‚ friends and fans of South African cricket. It has been the greatest honour of my life to lead my country.” CSA Acting CEO‚ Dr Jacques Faul expressed his thanks to Du Plessis for his contribution to South African cricket and his stellar leadership of the Proteas. “Faf’s record as player and captain speaks for itself‚” commented Dr. Faul.

“He has maintained the high standards he set for himself when he made a match-saving Test match century in Australia on debut in spite of the added responsibilities and pressures that come with leadership. “He is the only South African captain to have won home and away series against Australia – one of the benchmark nations of the game – in both Test match and ODI cricket and he also won a one-off T20 International series in Australia.”