Faf du Plessis has reiterated his commitment to continue playing in all three formats of the game despite relinquishing his responsibilities as captain.
On Monday, Du Plessis announced that he is stepping down from his role as captain of the Proteas Test and T20 teams, effective immediately.
In a detailed statement, he explained the reasoning behind the decision, while admitting his final season as captain had been the most challenging.
‘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. 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.
‘He has always reserved his best performances for when the team’s need was the greatest as witnessed by his debut century in Australia, his century against India at the Imperial Wanderers that almost enabled the Proteas to pull off a record fourth-innings run chase and his century as captain in the pink-ball Test at Adelaide when he was under enormous pressure both on and off the field.
‘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.’