South Africa news June 6, 2011

AB de Villiers named ODI and T20 captain


AB de Villiers has been named South Africa's one-day and Twenty20 international captain, succeeding Graeme Smith, who had stood down following the 2011 World Cup but will remain the Test captain. Hashim Amla has been named vice-captain in both limited-over formats, while de Villiers is also Smith's deputy in the Test team.

South Africa's newly-appointed coach, Gary Kirsten, said the additional responsibility given to de Villiers, who will now have to be senior batsman, wicketkeeper and captain in the limited-over formats, had not yet been considered. "We have had one conversation about it and we will talk about it further," Kirsten said.

de Villiers didn't appear to be burdened by the additional tasks either. "There is a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and I am really looking forward to it," he said at a press conference in Johannesburg. "I am obviously very excited and ready to learn. I am really looking forward to this whole challenge. I will work closely with Hashim and the coach. I have been through some ups and downs in my career and I am ready to take on anything."

de Villiers' dual appointment is in keeping with convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson's vision that there would be continuity in captaincy. Hudson had said in April that the next one-day captain would be likely to become the next Test captain as well.

Kirsten said there was a "general feeling" that de Villiers was the right man for the job because of his certainty in the starting XI. "I think it's important that you are looking at an individual whose name is the first or second on the team sheet, that does play a role," he said.

Johan Botha, who was appointed Smith's successor in the Twenty20 format in August 2010 has effectively been stripped of the captaincy. CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said that Botha had been informed of the news by telephone. "Everyone understands that we are selecting new captains and coaches and we just had to get hold of Johan and tell him he wasn't selected." Botha could well lose his place in the side because of the rise of Pakistan-born legspinner Imran Tahir and the return to form of Robin Peterson.

There was some speculation that Amla had been approached to take over the captaincy but had turned it down. He denied any such reports. Amla said he was happy with his vice-captain appointment because he considered himself an "under-the-radar character."

"I did take a long time to think about it, I feel it is a huge responsibility. AB as captain for me is an excellent move, I have always respected him as a person," Amla said. "I don't think I am a big enough person to handle the captaincy. I turned down the Dolphins captaincy and I decided afterward that I would stick to my batting, and when this came up I took it. It is a perfect fit for me."

Amla captained the Dolphins for one season in 2004-05 and he stepped down to concentrate on his batting, despite scoring 249 in the SuperSport Series final. He has only played three T20s and may be regarded as a surprise choice for the vice-captaincy in that format. "My career has gone in stages," he said. "The next one for me will be to establish myself as a world class T20 player."

Smith, who was also present at the press conference, said he had no regrets about stepping down as one-day captain and at no stage did he reconsider his decision. After eight years of captaining the ODI team, Smith said he was ready to relinquish the leadership and contribute as a senior player, while allowing de Villiers to grow into his new role.

"I am looking forward to having more freedom in the shorter formats of the game and to enjoying my cricket again," he said. "I said to AB it is very important that he establishes himself in the job and finds his way. I will always be supportive if he needs me. He will need senior players to support him and I feel I will be a good shoulder for him to lean on."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Paul on June 9, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    Firdose, spare me...Johan Botha is so far ahead, in all depatments, to Robin Peterson. Peterson has long been CSA's love child, being selected for numerous tours and tournaments over the past decade and being spectacularly unsuccessful. Yes, he had a fairly decent WC but he needs to display far greater consistency before he's even mentioned in the same breath at Johan Botha.

    Robin Peterson was, is and will remain a quota selection until he shows consistency against leading nations.

    I personally don't believe he has the skill to do that, but is a useful political pawn.

  • asitha on June 8, 2011, 8:20 GMT

    i think ab and kirsten is going 2 bring the golden age of s.a cricket.... i think the south african ODI line up for the home series shud be 1.ingram 2.amla 3.smith 4.kallis villiers 6.duminey 7. du plessi 8.a.morkel 9.steyn 10.m.morkel 11.tahir... gud luck ab n s.a....u guys deserve a golden age n a world cup...cheers

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2011, 7:09 GMT

    Johan Botha should have been given a chance.............

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    It really doesn't matter who South Africa's coach is. It's like they have a gene or something in them thats cursed. Their ineptitude under pressure is laughable, put mildly. All that talent, and it all goes to waste, every single time.

    Makes no difference if Viv Richards of Sir Gary Soberts is appointed coach, South Africa W I L L choke!

    Don't get me wrong. They're ridiculously talented and play some magnificent cricket, but apply pressure and * cough, cough, sputter, sputter * DIE :(

  • rupak on June 8, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    something like this was desperetly villers definately right way for sa cricket......lets watchout for sa....

  • Madhan on June 8, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    ABD will not make a great captain with his soft nature... Might go down in the likes of Sachin, Dravid or even Vettori who are all great but cannot command their team like Ganguly, Ponting or Dhoni...

  • Prashant on June 7, 2011, 19:27 GMT

    I just noticed that AB currently has 4741 runs in Tests. And his current average is 47.41!

  • Madhavan on June 7, 2011, 18:41 GMT

    A great decision...AB has been a top player in all formats and is one of the(if not the) best batsman when u consider all formats across the globe...he is a great wicket keeper...amla is a surprise for the T20s but he has also been very consistent...hope AB gets the success he and SA deserve..kallis could have been appointed vice-captain but i cant say how big a difference that will make

  • Dummy4 on June 7, 2011, 15:27 GMT

    So after the WC, when one Wicket keeper captain resigns,another is being appointed!!

  • kunal on June 7, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    smart move by south african cricket board......AB is loved through out the world an is my favourite south african player too.......besides that I think AB is the right choice for captaincy as he is an asset for the team and he should be used to his full potential......I think SA will be he best team for the next few years as they have the best coach and a new experienced captain in the form of AB...BEST OF LUCK AB!!!!!!!!

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