South Africa v England, 4th Test, Centurion January 21, 2016

De Villiers 'keen' to stay on as Test captain

AB de Villiers has indicated he wants to remain South Africa's Test captain - at least in the short term © Getty Images

AB de Villiers' captaincy aspirations remain alive although he is unsure how long he wants to spend in the leadership role. De Villiers will be in charge of South Africa for the Centurion Test and the ODIs that follow and has indicated he would consider the Test captaincy on a full-time basis in the short term.

"I committed for this series, then we'll have a discussion to find out where we want to go with this," de Villiers said. "I'm keen to move forward in the next few games - not just the next one. I'm keen but it's not solely my decision. I'll throw my name in that hat. Hopefully it comes my way. Long term? We'll see. It depends what you mean by long term. But definitely longer than the next game."

De Villiers has only had one match in charge in the longest format, the Wanderers Test, where South Africa's abject performance made it difficult to judge his ability. Despite the heavy defeat, de Villiers said he enjoyed the experience and is looking forward to doing it again this week.

"I truly love captaining. I've grown into enjoying it," he said. "It's a whole different feel, Test cricket. But you have a lot of time to express yourself and to try a few things out. Obviously I can improve in quite a few areas. I can start by maybe winning the game. When you win there's always a lot of praise. Obviously when you lose games people start asking questions - your captaincy ability, your line-up, your balance."

He expects some of those questions to be answered with the imminent return to fitness of two premier members of the pace pack. "Dale and Vernon are not too far away from being 100% fit," de Villiers said. "Once they come back some of the youngsters will learn quickly with the two of them right next to them."

Dale Steyn is part of South Africa's ODI squad that will play England in February, although it is unclear at what stage of the series he will become available for selection. Steyn has said he is being careful not to rush himself back ahead of the World T20. Vernon Philander is not in the ODI squad, which means he will probably not play international cricket again until August, when South Africa host New Zealand. He may feature in domestic competitions before that and there have been whispers of a county stint.

Both bowlers will be on workload management programs, similar to de Villiers, who is still struggling with finding the balance between playing too much and playing enough. "It's a problem around the world," de Villiers said. "It's important to make sure your players have the mindset that playing international cricket is still the ultimate form of cricket. I certainly believe it still is. My problem is rest and keeping myself fresh and mentally ready.

"There is a sense of people looking for the soft option - getting paid really well and playing less cricket. In my heart, international cricket is the way forward. That's where you want to play, that's where the pressure really lies, that's where you make your name. We all grow up dreaming of playing international cricket. A plan needs to be made to make sure the guys keep their mindsets."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • CricketChat on January 22, 2016, 23:02 GMT

    ABD may be willing, but he comes across as a bit too emotional for me to be a long term test captain. Just as SA as the world realized, being a prolific batsman does not mean he should be captain. Amla just proved it when he gave up his captaincy. I would like de Kock to be given the reins. He is very young, a wkt keeper and an aggressive bat with a long term potential. Just reminds me of another SA stalwart, G Smith.

  • HOPE-4-RSA-GILL on January 22, 2016, 17:58 GMT

    As a captain AB is not good or able option because he can not handle the pressure of tough situation . Because his performance gets down or low ... But here is big question who can lead SA side in test format ..After AB and AMLA no name comes to be considered .... ONLY BIG NAME ( FAF ) BUT HE IS OUT OF FORM , HE HAS BIG HEART : PATIENCE TO LEAD THE SIDE .. But FAF s good form and runs are around the corner . Good luck !

  • Alexk400 on January 22, 2016, 4:25 GMT

    I will dump chris morris ( ball comes out fine from his hands and got good shape) because his actioon in crease telestrate where he is going to pitch. Very unstable release. Too much going on with hands going everywhere. You have to be compact and almost like snake snatching prey silently. Quickness through the crease is key for fast bowler other than ball dipping in arc fashion. SA should employ 150kmph fast bowlers and bruise england. Dump morkel as well. Only rabada is ok but he needs to be encouraged to bowl fast fast. if SA going to lose atleast make it tough for engalnd to win.

  • Madhusudhan_6-Wd-4-NB-3-Wkt-2-LBW-1 on January 22, 2016, 3:16 GMT

    ABDV cannot remain captain, if SA don't perform. Only in India, it is possible for a non-performing captain to stay.

  • newgraahm on January 21, 2016, 20:40 GMT

    Keeping a brave face .....for this last test of the series ..that is all this is article is about.

  • Alexk400 on January 21, 2016, 16:47 GMT

    MY best advice is give up captain job as quickly as possible so you can prolong your test carreer. Because you will be involved in politics and it will affect your game. I do think ABD as good captain to win games but he is great great for new young players come to team under his captaincy. He will be great big brother figure for young players to learn the skills. He is a idealist. One thing i advice him is that if he wants to be captain, be ready for criticism from every angle and do not say what you really feel. Better not talk at all. It saves everyone from critiqing you. if there is too many losses against top teams , then arrange test series against zimbabwe and west indies and break records. People will forget the losses. hahaha.

    If he wants to be captain he should shut up about workload and stuff. Its contradictory.

  • Iddo555 on January 21, 2016, 16:43 GMT

    The problem for South Africa is that there are a lot of politics around the team such as quota systems. A coach and captain can't always pick the team they would like. For AB he doesn't need to deal with it if he doesn't want to, he could go and play IPL and Big Bash cricket and earn a fortune for very little work. He's considered the best or certainly one of the best batsman in the world and there will always be clubs willing to pay large sums for his services. I suppose if you are starting out in a career in SA you don't have that option but the likes of AB, Steyn and Morkel certainly do and they don't need to put up with the politics that go with playing for South Africa as a white player. I don't see him staying with SA for much longer, the lure of an easier life and big money will be too much to resist.

  • Farooq3 on January 21, 2016, 16:35 GMT

    Faf is the best choice for SA in the long term. This will also give him more confidence and help him improve his individual performance. If AB is not 100% sure than better not to put extra pressure on him!

  • fwd079 on January 21, 2016, 16:19 GMT

    Good information but I'd request one thing to AB the captain. Please take a leaf out of Dhoni's book on how to conduct captaincy brilliantly and still remain calm. Please don't case doubts by such varying statements.

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