Faf du Plessis ready to take over ODI captaincy from AB de Villiers
What’s the story?
A few days after AB de Villiers stepped down from South Africa’s ODI captaincy, his potential successor, Faf du Plessis, expressed his desire to lead the national side in all three formats.
Speaking further on the upcoming Global T20 League tournament, Du Plessis said that it is imperative to give importance to all three forms of the game so that one specific format doesn’t suffer.
"The challenges in front of our league is to make it successful. Therefore it is important that cricket does not bleed and our cricketers don't lose their focus by playing only one format," he told The Times of India.
In case you didn’t know…
Last week, AB de Villiers, in a recorded message on Twitter and Facebook, announced that he was stepping down from captaincy in ODIs, adding that he will be available to play all three formats as a player.
He also said that du Plessis had proved to be an outstanding captain in the T20s and Tests, and that de Villiers had kept all of it in mind while informing Cricket South Africa about his resignation.
The heart of the matter
A string of injuries in the last few years forced AB de Villiers to take an indefinite sabbatical from the game's longest format, with his last Test dating back to January 2016 against England.
Du Plessis, who is also set to captain an ICC World XI side in the T20 series in Pakistan next month, has received praise from former cricketers and teammates alike for the way he has led the national side in de Villiers' absence.
He himself admitted that "captaining a team brings the best out of me," indicating that he is committed to leading the side in all three formats, without the additional burden affecting his batting.
Buoyed by the return of De Villiers, a motivated South African side will face Bangladesh in September-October, just before their scheduled series against India starting January next year.
With the World Cup, a tournament that has forever been elusive for the South Africans, less than two years away, the time is ripe for Du Plessis to take over the side in 50-overs as well. It will also take away pressure from AB de Villiers, whose return to form can be a big boon to the side in the months leading to 2019.
Also, given that Du Plessis's batting revels under pressure, his self-admission about captaincy bringing out his best is a win-win situation for everyone, as it assures the side of a leader who gives his cent percent for the team's cause and isn't a mere puppet or a stop-gap arrangement.