Faf du Plessis steps down as SA captain
February 17, 2020 | 4:20 PM
by ICC
Faf du Plessis.

Centurion: Faf du Plessis, on Monday, February 17, stepped down as South Africa’s Test and T20I captain, but said he wanted to continue playing and contributing to the team as a batsman and a senior player.

“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,” du Plessis said.

“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.

“This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton [de kock, next in line to become captain], Mark [Boucher, the head coach] and my team-mates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group.”

Du Plessis was appointed as South Africa’s full-time T20I captain in February 2013, before he took over the Test captaincy from AB de Villiers in 2016. In September 2017, he was named the ODI captain. Under him, South Africa made the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2014, but failed to replicate that in the following edition in 2016.

He had a great beginning as Test captain, with two series wins in New Zealand, one in Australia and a 3-0 sweep of Sri Lanka at home during the 2016/17 season. He won 17 of his first 20 games as the ODI captain, which included series sweeps against Australia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at home, and an away 2-1 win against Australia.

The last 12 months, however, weren’t as fruitful for the 35-year-old. During the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, South Africa were knocked out of the semi-final contention quite early in the tournament, after having managed just a single win from their first seven games. Du Plessis was later dropped for the ODI series against England, with Quinton De Kock taking over the reins.

In Tests, South Africa were swept clean by Sri Lanka at home and later in a three-match series in India, before going down to England by a 1-3 margin most recently. Du Plessis’ own form with the bat raised quite a few questions over his place in the side.

Overall, he led in 36 Tests, 39 ODIs and 40 T20Is, of which South Africa won 18, 28 and 25 respectively. “Faf’s record as player and captain speaks for itself,” CSA Acting CEO, Dr Jacques Faul, remarked.

“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.

“His latest decision reminds us all of the manner in which he has always put the team first. Following the retirement of Vernon Philander, he and Dale Steyn are the last survivors of the golden generation that took the Proteas to the top of the Test rankings, and he still has a vital role to play as we bridge the gap between one generation and the next.

“I am sure he will continue to add much value to the Proteas, both on the field and in the dressing room in the final chapter of his outstanding career.”

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