Now that Faf du Plessis has been appointed as Test captain in an official capacity, give him time to settle into the role.
AB de Villiers’ decision to step down as captain was the sensible thing to do. The guys have all pulled it together in AB’s absence, and since he’s missing the Sri Lanka series too, it makes sense to officially pass the captaincy over to Du Plessis, who has excelled in the role.
Some guys just love to be captain and I think Faf is one of them. Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are examples of players who have improved their form drastically with the added responsibilities of leading the side, and Du Plessis appears to be one of those guys too.
In a personal capacity, Faf’s form has been excellent. He’s batted well and that’s key when you’re the captain, because then the players can look up to you too. Players will have confidence in your abilities if you play well. Faf’s form, which saw him get centuries against New Zealand and then in the day-night Test against Australia, have definitely swung things in his favour.
He got dropped for poor form at the beginning of the year, but we all know how capable a batsman he is. We’ve seen it time and time again across the formats. His personal contributions will be fine, but it might not happen instantly. Even though he’s done brilliantly as captain so far, you still need to give him to time to settle into it.
I believe it’s the correct route to go. Everyone’s been saying it so there’s got to be something right there. Through the ball-tampering allegations where he received plenty of stick from the Australian media he got that century, and it showed a lot of character.
AB de Villiers is South Africa’s key run-getter and now he doesn’t have to worry about the captaincy. He’s a wonderful guy, a great character and he’s done all the jobs, from captaining the Test side and the ODI side to wicketkeeping and opening the batting.
Financially AB doesn’t need the captaincy. He doesn’t need to have to deal with everything behind the scenes. He earns so much in domestic cricket around the world. He’s at a stage where he must just go and enjoy his cricket.
Back in 1964, when I was captain of Eastern Province as a 20-year-old, I enjoyed the role but the decision was made to choose someone else as captain so that I could just do my primary role well – score runs. The coach told me that my job was to score runs in order to break into the SA team, so I did.
We had the option of a capable alternative to captain the side so that was the decision made. It reminds me of this situation now.
All I can say to AB de Villiers now is thank you very much for your contributions and well done. Now just do what you do best, and that’s score runs.