Du Plessis takes over as T20 skipper


Faf du Plessis (left) has taken over as South African T20I captain from AB de Villiers. © Getty Images

Faf du Plessis will take over the full-time captaincy of the South African Twenty20 International squad after AB de Villiers requested that he be stood down from the role. This means South Africa will now have three different international captains, with Graeme Smith leading the Test side and de Villiers in charge of the One-Day International side.

Du Plessis’s first matches as full-time captain will be against Pakistan, with the first match on March 1 and the second on March 3. De Villiers will then take over for the five-match ODI series, also against Pakistan, from March 10, and continue to keep wickets.

Jacques Kallis has been rested from the limited-overs squads, while Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn will not be part of the T20I squads. Amla has asked to take a break from T20Is to concentrate on Tests and ODIs, while Steyn is being rested.

“Handing Faf the T20 captaincy is an exciting option for us to explore our leadership resources,” said Gary Kirsten, the South Africa coach. “He showed a lot of potential during the series against New Zealand in both the T20 and ODI formats, and this will be another great opportunity for him to work on his role as a leader.

“Having three captains also allows us to spread the resources amongst our three formats, with Graeme and AB also providing the ideal support in the Test and ODI formats. This is an important year for our limited-overs squads and this new direction is an exciting step forward.

“South African cricket has been fortunate to have been sustained by the excellent leadership qualities of Graeme and other senior role players over the years, and we feel that this is the opportune time for us to begin developing the next tier of leaders to take the Proteas brand forward in the future.”

Kyle Abbott, the uncapped paceman who replaced the injured Morne Morkel in the squad for the final Test starting on Friday (February 22), has also taken Morkel’s place in the T20I squad. Morkel, who picked up a hamstring injury in the second Test in Cape Town, is expected recover in time for the ODI series.

The four players, who made their T20I debuts against New Zealand – Henry Davids, Aaron Phangiso, Chris Morris and Quinton de Kock – will be given further opportunities against Pakistan although de Kock loses out in favour of David Miller in the ODI squad.

“This is our last chance to prepare competitively for the Champions Trophy in England in mid-year so this series is very important for us,” said Andrew Hudson, the Cricket South Africa selection convenor. “The next edition of the World Twenty20 is still more than a year away so this squad is still a work in progress.”

South Africa ODI squad: AB de Villiers (capt, wk), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Faf du Plessis, Colin Ingram, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

T20I squad: Faf du Plessis (capt), Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock (wk), AB de Villiers, Rory Kleinveldt, Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Chris Morris, Justin Ontong, Robbie Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.


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