Graeme Smith says Faf du Plessis has to be given credit for the way he’s stepped up to the captaincy in the absence of AB de Villiers.
Former Proteas skipper Smith, who captained the side in a record 109 Tests and boasting 53 wins, took on more leadership roles at Newlands on Thursday as he coached the KFC Mini Cricket kids against the Proteas before turning out for the Boks in the Legacy Cup. The 35-year-old weighed in on the Faf vs AB de Villiers captaincy debate by saying that he was impressed with the way Faf went about his work.
‘You’ve got to give Faf credit, his leadership has been good,’ Smith tells SACricketmagazine.com. ‘Streamlining the leadership has been a factor; it helps if you lead all the formats.’
Du Plessis, officially the T20 skipper of the national side but only the ODI and Test skipper during De Villiers’ absence, guided the side to a historic whitewash ODI series against Australia, before leading SA to a third-consecutive Test series victory Down Under. Smith believes everything clicked in that series, from team culture to player performances.
‘Revisiting the culture was important and the players have stepped up too which helps,’ Smith says. ‘There weren’t too many changes. I think it’s been a good thing that there’s been some consistency.’
While it’s a no-brainer that De Villiers returns to the side, Smith is unsure as to how his inclusion might affect the balance of the unit, but he thinks De Villiers won’t be the only one putting pressure on the starting XI.
‘Ab’s got to come back when he’s fit and healthy, but the selectors have to look at the balance of the side and who’s performed consistently over a lengthy period of time. You need AB’s style of play to complement the rest of the top six or seven.
‘There’s a feel-good factor at the moment,’ he continues. ‘There’s good competition for places. Morne Morkel will be pushing hard for selection and both openers will be looking to find more consistency. In Australia the guys chipped in at the right time, and there are players still looking to make their mark at international level.
‘Obviously getting Rilee Rossouw and the next tier of players through will only benefit South African cricket.’
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images