Faf du Plessis steps down as South Africa captain

By Chris Myson 17 February 2020 4
Faf du Plessis steps down as South Africa captain

Faf du Plessis has stepped down as the Test and Twenty20 captain of South Africa, with Quinton de Kock seemingly poised to replace him.

The 35-year-old was replaced by De Kock as ODI captain in January and, with immediate effect, no longer leads the Proteas in any form of the game.

Du Plessis wants to continue contributing as a batsman and senior player and will advise the new leadership group as of the team's succession planning, Cricket South Africa said in a statement on Monday.

"Faf du Plessis has cited a need to take a step back from captaincy in order to help facilitate the emergence of the next generation of leaders within the team under the new stewardship of Quinton de Kock," CSA said, citing the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

De Kock had also led South Africa in their T20 series against England, for which Du Plessis was rested, with the Proteas losing 2-1 after defeat in the final match on Sunday.

Du Plessis has been South Africa captain for 112 matches across all formats, having first led the team in a T20 series against New Zealand in December 2012.

"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 in Monday's announcement.

"As the team heads into a new direction with new leaders and a young crop of players, I feel it will be in the best interests of South African cricket to relinquish the captaincy in all formats.

"This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton, [head coach] Mark [Boucher] and my team-mates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group."

Du Plessis had pondered continuing as skipper through the rest of 2020 but believes now is the best time to step aside.

The team's highest-ranked ODI batsman, Du Plessis has previously hinted at retiring from Test cricket but will continue across all forms of the game for now.

"After the 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," he said.

"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 remain committed to playing 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."

CSA Acting CEO, Dr Jacques Faul paid tribute to Du Plessis, adding: "Faf's record as player and captain speaks for itself.

"He has always reserved his best performances for when the team's need was the greatest and his latest decision reminds us all of the manner in which he has always put the team first. 

"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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