If cricket had an election about its best and worst, where would you make your mark?
As far as South Africa is concerned – and in particular the national Test side – a pretty important decision has to be made in the coming weeks.
Thanks to Graeme Smith, South Africa have not had to think about the captaincy position for more than 10 years.
That is an extraordinarily long period for any person to hold on to a position of that magnitude, especially in a country like South Africa with its incredibly vast and intricate demands, which stretch beyond merely winning and losing.
Smith carried all the usual burdens of captaincy – as there would be in any of the other major Test-playing nations – while also attempting to forge a new identity for the national side that would be free of the embarrassing and shameful past of Hansie Cronje, while attempting to create a legacy for future national players to be proud of.
In many respects he succeeded, and now the onus will be on his successor to continue and enhance that legacy. But who will that successor be?
National selectors, the coaching staff and eventually Cricket South Africa’s board of directors must find the answer to that question. Unlike the elections in which most of us voted yesterday, candidates don’t get to campaign – at least publicly – for the job.
Faf du Plessis may have a gorgeous hairdo, exquisite modern dress sense and a cool, charming nature, but has he played sufficient innings of substance to be deserving of that job?
AB de Villiers is the best batsman in the world across any format, speaks well and has any number of great innings (in all the formats) on his CV, but does he have the leadership nous to be a Test captain of South Africa?
What about JP Duminy – is he a proper candidate based on form? Can Hashim Amla go from being the composed batting maestro to a leader of men? Is Dale Steyn too hot-headed for the post?
None of them has been out there campaigning for the post – outside of just performing to the best of their ability on the field.
So perhaps, a bit like the questions we asked of Messrs Malema, Holomisa and Zuma and madams Zille and Ramphele, we should ask what we require from a national captain.
Smith was never everyone’s cup of tea. And that was in spite of the historic success he achieved in Australia and England, twice.
So, what do you want of your South African captain (besides a World Cup)?
And are the candidates mentioned above good enough for the job? If not them, then who? - The Star