AB de Villiers appointed as South Africa's new Test skipper
Cricket South Africa (CSA) have confirmed the appointment of AB de Villiers as the skipper of the Protea Test team in the long run after having led the side in the final two Tests after Hashim Amla had stepped down from his post midway through the series, NDTV Sports reports. Accepting the decision, De Villiers stated that he is ‘honoured’ to take up the role and is 'excited’ about the times ahead.
Explaining the decision which was very much on the cards after Amla had relinquished the captaincy in the longer format following losses against India and England which ended South Africa’s long run at the top of the ICC Test rankings, CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: "AB is a class cricketer and a special person and the Board is delighted that he has taken on the responsibility to lead the Proteas Test team during this crucial phase of guiding new players and rebuilding the team to once again be the best in the world."
"AB's commitment to the Proteas and international cricket is a lesson for many other cricketers and the Board was unanimous in appointing AB to take charge of the team. Having known AB since he started his international career, I am confident that he will lead by example and display the brilliance and passion that he is so blessed with," added Lorgat.
He also paid tribute to Amla, who led South Africa in fourteen Tests after taking over the captaincy following Graeme Smith’s retirement from international cricket in March 2014.
"I would also like to thank Hashim Amla for the manner in which he led the Proteas during a very tough transitional period," he said.
De Villiers ‘honoured’ and ‘excited’ about new role
De Villiers, who is already South Africa’s skipper in the 50-over format, expressed his delight at being given the role in the Test arena as well.
"This is an exciting time for South African cricket, and I am honoured to have been asked to captain the Test team into a new era. I thoroughly enjoyed captaining in the last two Tests against England, and although I still have a lot to learn in this role, it's a new challenge that I'm excited to take on," De Villiers said.
"I have been privileged to play in several outstanding Proteas teams over the past 11 seasons, and I believe we are witnessing the emergence of another great team. There is plenty of hard work ahead of us; we are rebuilding and have a long way to go to being a finished product as a squad."
Reiterating his desire to continue playing for South Africa for many more years after rumours of his retirement had shocked the cricket world back in December 2015, De Villiers said that he is fully focussed on the job at hand and thanked his teammates and the board for giving him the opportunity.
"We may have to fight through some tough times, but the recent performances of Kagiso Rabada, Temba Bavuma, Dane Piedt, Dean Elgar and others have created an opportunity to build a team that delights and unites our country as never before.
"I could not be more excited about the future. I am fully committed to the Proteas, but more than anything, I am grateful for the support from my teammates, Cricket South Africa and the people of our rainbow nation," he said.
De Villiers certainly has plenty of time at hand to assess the Test squad as South Africa’s next assignment is scheduled for August – a home series against New Zealand.