Faf du Plessis and Russell Domingo don’t foresee any hassles when AB de Villiers returns as South Africa’s Test captain over the festive season.
The South African side, which returned from a successful Test tour to Australia on Tuesday night, has produced some outstanding performances in De VIlliers’ absence recently including a Test series win against New Zealand, a whitewash in a five-match One-Day International series against the World Cup holders and then the 2-1 series triumph Down Under.
Although Du Plessis has looked accomplished as skipper, he explained how he would be happy to return to a supporter role once De Villiers is back, which should be for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth starting on Boxing Day.
“I don’t see it as a massive transition (when) AB takes over,” said Du Plessis. “He will always have 100% support from me, he knows that. When he’s captain, my role is to let him run the ship, respect that, but in doing that give him my complete support.”
Du Plessis has on a number of occasions in recent months acknowledged that captaincy brings out the best in his game, but that when De Villiers returns that motivation through leadership will take on a more personal tone. “I’m a leader in the team, that brings the best out of me. I have to make sure I lead, one for myself and two for the team.”
While conceding that Du Plessis has performed outstandingly as the Proteas’ skipper across two formats recently, Domingo stressed the importance of De Villiers’s position as captain being respected.
“Faf’s shown great maturity as a leader, he’s been in charge of the T20 side for a while. He’s an outstanding captain and fortunately he’s also found some good form lately which helps his leadership as well, so he’s leading from the front in terms of performances as well. He’s done an outstanding job, but the bottom line is AB de Villiers is the current Test captain,” said Domingo.
“In my opinion the status quo must remain and I’m very pleased with that. AB’s only had two Tests as captain’ - one a loss to England the other a win. He needs to have a full crack at the job and I will be providing my full support to AB when he’s fit and ready to play again as the leader of this team.”
Du Plessis outlined that while De Villiers was very much skipper, a senior core in the Proteas squad also carried responsibilities as leaders.
“We are very fortunate that we have three guys - myself, AB and Hash (Amla) who’ve captained the side. Although there are some slight differences, we all share similar ideas about how we want the culture to move forward. In addition there’s guys like JP (Duminy), Dale (Steyn) and Morne (Morkel) who are all part of the leadership group who make sure we all stand together in terms of how the team moves forward.”
With the exception of Du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada the rest of the SA squad should be available for their franchises at some stage over the next few weeks as the domestic T20 Challenge reaches the final stages. However Morkel won’t be available for selection for the first two Tests of the Sri Lanka series as he continues to be troubled by his lower back.
The team’s manager Mohammed Moosajee confirmed that the lanky fast bowler will only come into consideration for selection for the third Test at the Wanderers in January and that is provided he gets through at least one game at some stage before then.
Hashim Amla (neck), Quinton de Kock (virus) and Rilee Rossouw (foot) all need between a week and three weeks on the sidelines to overcome their respective ailments.