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Faf du Plessis commits to playing key role in ushering in next group of leaders

Faf du Plessis relinquished his captaincy in February 2020.
Faf du Plessis relinquished his captaincy in February 2020.
Image: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Former SA captain Faf du Plessis says there is a leadership vacuum in the Proteas Test side and has committed to playing a key role in ushering in the next group of leaders in the national team setup.

Du Plessis relinquished his captaincy in February after caving under pressure following a string of poor results that included harrowing Test series defeats to India and England in between a disastrous 2019 Cricket World Cup.

The 35-year-old said he misses his captaincy responsibilities and committed to continue representing the Proteas in all three formats during a wide-ranging interview with reporters.

“I love the captaincy. It is a part of who I am. I’ve captained at all formats and levels since I was 13. I enjoy that more than anything else so I will always miss it‚” said the Pretoria-born former Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool (Affies) boy.

Having led the team since 2016 when he took over from his Affies childhood friend AB de Villiers‚ Du Plessis said he felt it was the right time to step aside and assume a new role in the team.

“The time is right for me to move into a position where I will be growing other leaders‚ which is something I feel is lacking in our system and is something that I want to make sure I can create some sort of value towards that‚” said the right-handed batsman.

“Every time when a leader takes over they just find their way. I think this is something I’ve looked at as my real purpose towards next year for the Proteas to really get stuck in and grow guys and share my experiences over the last six or seven years”

Du Plessis said thoughts of going the Kolpak route after stepping aside as captain never crossed his mind.

“Not at any stage did I decide that I want to go and sign deals overseas.

“In terms of new leadership roles I think it is something that we need to make sure that we give it some attention.

“It is something that is not there in South African cricket and I think it is important that we see the value of it.”

Du Plessis’s successor is yet to be named but with sport around the world having ground to a halt due to the Covid-19 crisis‚ it buys director of cricket Graeme Smith more time to ponder his options.

Aiden Markram has for some time been tipped for the Test captaincy while Dean Elgar‚ Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen are also seen as capable leaders.

“There are a lot of guys who have played a bit of cricket but relatively young in terms of leadership in their own roles.

“Not a lot of guys have captained a lot of games of cricket.

“I think it is a great opportunity for three‚ four‚ five or six guys to come together and start building themselves and each other to create a leadership group within the Proteas team that will drive the culture for the next three to four years.

“There is a huge opportunity there and something that I would want to be part of‚” said Du Plessis.