What a difference a year makes. This time last year, some time in between the Proteas’ Test series against India and England, I was one of those who thought Faf Du Plessis wasn’t worth his place as a batsman in the team, and now, after South Africa’s series victory against Australia and before AB De Villiers stepped down as skipper, I called for Du Plessis to become the permanent Test skipper.
I couldn’t have imagined that anyone at Cricket South Africa would have had the gumption to sit the golden boy of South African cricket down and ask him, even politely, to step aside and hand over the reigns. Tom Sizeland, a cricket writer I follow on Twitter, swrote that the final decision on the Proteas’ captaincy would be made after a conversation between the two and not by the selectors, and I reckon thats really what it’s come down to.
A word on De Villiers. I don’t know him personally nor have I ever met him, but I really didn’t think he would give up the job he had pined for his entire career. Remember last year when the talk was that he could retire from Tests and then sulked until Hashim Amla resigned and AB was given the job? He clearly craved the job and was willing to do just about anything for it. I don’t know if it helps or makes it worse that his very good mate went on to get that job but it was very big of him to put the interests of the team and progress ahead of his own personal ambitions.
As for Du Plessis, I’ve hardly ever rated him as an international cricketer but he has done incredibly well when entrusted with responsibility. During our most recent show, I asked my partner, Sam, if he thought the Proteas would have still won if AB De Villiers was fit enough to play and captain the side. There is no way to know for certain but in my opinion, I don’t reckon they would have, while Sam pointed out that there were stark differences in their styles of captaincy but in the end we reached a consensus that Faf was probably the better man for the job.
Congratulations to Faf Du Plessis on his new position and all the best, I hope he does a great job and takes the team forward.