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De Villiers tipped to succeed Smith

Firdose Moonda

March 7, 2014

Comments: 95 | Text size: A | A

AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith celebrate the fall of Shane Shillingford, West Indies v South Africa, 2nd Test, St Kitts, 4th day, June 21, 2010
AB de Villiers is expected to take over the Test captaincy after Graeme Smith's retirement © AFP
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AB de Villiers is the most likely candidate to succeed Graeme Smith as South Africa's Test captain, but if he is to assume the additional responsibility it might mean a change in team structure. Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Shaun Pollock called de Villiers the "natural choice," but warned he would have to stop wicketkeeping to accept the leadership.

De Villiers is presently the Test team's vice-captain, wicketkeeper and No. 5 batsman, and Boucher does not think he can take on any more. "I don't think it's viable for him to captain, bat in the top five and keep wicket," Boucher said. "The ask is a lot. Maybe he can do it for a small period of time while South Africa look for another keeper but in the longer term, he'll need to give up one."

There is recent evidence to back that argument, dating back to de Villiers' appointment as ODI captain when Smith stepped down after the 2011 World Cup. That was de Villiers' first leadership role, having not led at school or domestic level before, and his inexperience showed.

With a strategy of a flexible batting line-up - which has since been scrapped - South Africa were a disorganised ODI unit for the first few months under de Villiers. He struggled to keep up with the pace of captaincy, quite literally, and was suspended for two matches against New Zealand in January 2013 for a slow over rate.

That was de Villiers' fourth series in charge, by which point he had already relinquished the Twenty20 captaincy to Faf du Plessis, and was meant to hone his skills in the job. The wicketkeeping gloves were taken away from him as well and at the time de Villiers said he felt he had more time to "communicate with my bowlers and get the field right."

De Villiers briefly resumed keeping, while Quinton de Kock was given time at his franchise to mature into a domestic player, but currently does not keep wicket in either T20s or ODIs. During that time he also developed into a sharper captain, particularly after the 2013 Champions Trophy, and led South Africa to an away series win over Pakistan, followed by a defeat to them at home, and a home victory over India.

It was regarded as no coincidence that the improvement in his tactics came after he was unburdened from a treble-role. If the same logic is applied to the Test team, it will likely be de Kock who will take over as wicketkeeper. De Kock was recently contracted by CSA and made his Test debut in Port Elizabeth. He's only 21 and has played only 21 first-class games but Pollock was not worried by his inexperience.

"If they decide they want to go the de Kock route, they've got six Tests for him to settle into his role," he said. Before the 2015 World Cup, South Africa will play two Tests against Sri Lanka in July, one against Zimbabwe and three at home against West Indies. The first of those assignments is the most challenging, given that Sri Lanka was the last place South Africa lost in, so de Villiers may be retained as gloveman for that.

If South Africa want an alternative for Test captain, they won't have to look much further than du Plessis. He captains T20 team, has led from school level, enjoys being in charge and has shown he has the ability. His has only played 14 Tests, but already boasts a batting average over 50 and the temperament to bat for days.

Beyond de Villiers and du Plessis, South Africa don't have many other candidates. Hashim Amla was vice-captain of the limited-overs sides but gave that up last February and said his decision was based on not wanting to take on the main role if needed. Alviro Petersen, who leads the Lions franchise, only has one hand on his spot as an opener and none of the fast bowlers have ever been considered captaincy material.

Makhaya Ntini believes JP Duminy could captain in shorter formats because, "he has been playing and performing for long enough and he deserves it." But Duminy is only settling into a more all-round role and it may prove too much to expect from him.

South Africa's options are limited to giving one of the shorter-format captains the Test job and Pollock thinks it could bring a breath of fresh air. "A lot of the tactics over the last 10 years have mainly been from Graeme's head," he said. "Even when he stepped down in shorter formats, the bulk of the strategies come from his thinking. It will be nice for someone to come with a new approach."

The Smith-era and all that came with it - the presence of Boucher and Kallis as seniors and the consistency brought by having the longest-serving captain - is now over. South Africa remain the top-ranked Test team but these major changes may make it tough for them to stay there for as long as they would like.

They have a 12-point cushion over their nearest rivals, Australia, and Kallis hoped it was enough to tide them over until the new crop settle in. "There's quite a bit of a gap between us and the rest so hopefully we can just hang in there for a little while," he said. "We've got one or two series coming up where we can hold our own with a young side but we will also have to be patient for a while. There won't be as much experience in the side but it's by no means a weak side. The guys coming in are just as talented, they might just need some time but they'll be there and there abouts."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 11, 2014, 18:21 GMT)

@ Shongololo wrote "For all your bluster, ZCF, de Kock had a better batting average v Australia than Alviro. Fact."

I too pointed out that salient fact, but ZCF has never been known to let the inconvenience of statistics, logic, evidence or even common sense get in the way of his/her strongly held opinions. I admire the man/woman for sticking to his/her guns. Unfortunately, the guns seem pointed at the targets no-one else would fire upon. The targets deserving fire are, of course, protected by his/her force field.

Interestingly, ZCF raised unholy hell when QdK was given the ODI gloves, but since his back to back to back centuries, there has been blissful silence. Long may it last. Somehow, ZCF fails to grasp the blindingly-obvious-to-everyone-else concept of "if he does that in ODIs, lets give him a run in tests and see if we have a best of Gilchrist & de Villiers hybrid genetically modified cricketer*.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (March 11, 2014, 8:27 GMT)

@Greatest_Game time will tell. Already your arguments for Smith(so bad had to retire), Morkel(still rubbish), Abbott(toothless), QdK(out of his depth) etc proved false. Who's next? Faf at four to me is staring down the barrel. You guys make me laugh. Too biased to see their flaws. Anyway what counts is slowly but surely your favoourites are being shown up at this level. Like it or not Rory, Tsotsobe&Tsolekile will feature on merit sooner rather than later.

Alviro(c), Amla, AB, Faf, Duminy, Elgar/Bavuma, Tsolekile(wk), Philander, Parnell/Tsotsobe, Steyn, Leie/Phangiso

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 11, 2014, 3:59 GMT)

@ ZCFOutkast writes "AB should've given up the gloves and batted at 4 when Kallis retired, not Faf."

If his captain & coach wanted him to stop keeping, he would have - right? If his captain & coach wanted him to go on keeping, same applies. Despite your claims, AB does not run CSA.

If Faf bats at five YOU will immediately accuse him of "hiding down the order!" You accuse AB of doing so. Did you read that Reuters article - I supplied you the link!

He also writes "... it's more practical to have Amla open as Elgar&QdK or whoever won't cut it, while it's even more pressing for AB to come in at first drop."

If Amla WANTED to open, he would. If he does not WANT to open, remember what happebed to Ashwell when he was forced to?

McLaren before Parnell was stupind. Neither should have been picked. Abbot before Rory is plain common sense. LOOK AT THEIR FIGURES!!!

Truly, I just can't take you seriously. Nothing you say makes sense. Thami can't bat. End of story, but you go on, & on ...

Posted by Shongololo on (March 10, 2014, 23:01 GMT)

For all your bluster, ZCF, de Kock had a better batting average v Australia than Alviro. Fact.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (March 10, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa if Faf is to be captain then I don't think he should do so while batting at 4. Maybe 5 or 6. With an uncertain opening combination, we can't have him worrying about his own form. Like I said, Amla&AB have to be in the top 3, the Proteas can't afford anythign else. If that's not the case then it would be suicidal for Faf to accept the captaincy. Personally I doubt he will continue to be able to make it in the first XI as a batsman. Bet on it!

People who question Alviro are funny. If he plays in Sunfoil series he will score centuries&double tons with the frequency that far surpasses anyone. There is no way Elgar&QdK can be better openers. The reality is he will be an opener for the Proteas for quite some time. Has the ability to score quick or consolidate and is naturally confident. Along with Steyn they are the only two remaining leaders in that side. Steyn can't be captain - never a good idea to burden bowlers with that between spells. So ALVIRO IS THE ONLY OPTION.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 10, 2014, 12:08 GMT)

@ZCFOutkast You are a strange one to work out, as I find myself both agreeing and then also disagreeing with what you say.

I agree with you on SA selectors messing up selection with McLaren in the first test. It was naive for the selectors to think that Mclarens medium pace and batting was going to cause australia any problems. When Parnell came in with his extra pace, there was immediate impact. I also agree with you about Morne Morkel, who for me is purely a free-loader on the back of Steyn & Pielander success. Finally, your points on QdK are true, he came in as a specialist batsman and 'jumped' the queue of others more deserving as specialist batters.

Disagree with you on Faff - I believe he could be a great captain. He has been captain of teams since childhood while AB has not. I strongly disagree with Alviro being captain as I feel he shouldn't even be in the team with his poor form and inconsistent performances.

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (March 10, 2014, 10:57 GMT)

@Geatest_Game AB should've given up the gloves and batted at 4 when Kallis retired, not Faf. What I say makes sense. With Smith retiring just after Kallis it's more practical to have Amla open as Elgar&QdK or whoever won't cut it, while it's even more pressing for AB to come in at first drop. The others will grow better from 4-6. As for QdK keeping the irony is those advocating for that path are what also leads me to think the agenda is not just cricket. Think him being selected but ineffective in the 2nd Test, and the same applying to Abbott ahead of Rory, or McLaren pupping Parnell in the first. Many argued for them but predictably the Aussies hardly felt their presence. I stand by Alviro as captain for the next two seasons until CSA see how the new side pans out. Like it or not AB&Faf will prove to be poor choices and many of you will be calling for a change within 3 series. Anyway whatever happens Morne Morkel must be dropped. No longer justified for this level.

Posted by Marktc on (March 10, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

A good player does not necessarily make a good captain. There is more to being a quality captain as just being an outstanding or long serving player. On te flip side though, you do need a captain who is good enough to earn their place in the team. In terms of leadership, I would choose Faf ahead of AB. I still would like to see De Kock open and keep wicket instead of AB as wicky. Smith and Kirsten worked on good structures and if Domingo (who I also don't think is the best) keeps those in place, the team will still work together under an inexperienced captain. I am afraid if Domingo tries to change things too much, SA will not be the team it shoul dhave been.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 19:54 GMT)

De Villiers is a brilliant cricketer, not including bowlers hes the best in the world currently in my opinion, he can do it all

Posted by stormy16 on (March 9, 2014, 16:45 GMT)

Somehow I sense SA are going to slip on a banana skin over this issue! Few considerations. Dhoni in modern times and Alex Stweart in the past, are examples that AB can do it all. Sangakara and McCallum are examples of a batsman moves to a new level when playing as a pure batsman. So what are SA looking for? I get the feeling SA are uncertain if AB can handle it all - one sure way is to ask hin or give it to him for a couple of series and reassess. The way I would look at is AB could be an altime great as a batter and that is simply too much to compromise for playing a wicket keeper batsman. I would solve all issues as follows. Take the gloves off AB which means besides playing as a pure batter, there is less impact on his back which may shorten his career. Pick the best option for the keepers job and SA alreday picked De Cock as a batter, so just give him the gloves. Yes he is young but Smith was given the captaincy at 22 and the quicker De Cock is in the team the better.

Posted by gimme-a-greentop on (March 9, 2014, 16:26 GMT)

AB is most probably the most natural option, as he is now SA's best player, along with Amla, who doesn't want to be captain. However, I can't help but feel that they should make Faf captain. I think you need a guy who can be the damn wall to be captain (like Border and Steve Waugh, talented batsmen though they were), and Faf has shown he can do that well (not that Ab can't). I'm just dying for de Villiers to give up keeping, not be captain, and be the no 4 batsman in the side. He can truly use these last four or five years of his career to become one of SA's finest ever batsmen, along with Pollock, Richards and Kallis.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 9, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

@ ZCFOutkast. Unusually, I agree with you on something. I don't think AB has the mindset of an astute captain. However, that has nothing to do with bravery, & alleging he lacks it is inappropriate. CSA, without questin, wanted AB to take the gloves. He did not want to. As far back as 2009 he openly said so:

"I don't want to keep wicket, I want to bat at number four for my country and take the responsibility of scoring hundreds," De Villiers, who kept wicket at the start of his test career, said on Tuesday."

Some accused him of arrogance for that statement, yet you accuse him of cowardice for not kicking Kallis out the spot he held for most of his career. Your accusations lack any merit, logic, or even common sense, & reflect your obvious agenda, which is unrelated to cricket!

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

yes,difficult time for sa cricket.I think ab is the right choice.faf can be his deputy.in this case ab have to give up his wicket keeping role.there fore decock can take wicket keeping gloves and open with alviro.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 10:14 GMT)

MY Choice Hashim Amla good for Cool Captain

Posted by Stormf on (March 9, 2014, 8:43 GMT)

I agree that AB should be allowed to just play without the burden of captaincy. Either Faf or someone else. Pollock looked to be the natural as promoted by the former 'greats' but just wasn't up to the task.

Posted by fkhawaja on (March 9, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

well south africa should consider dale stayne for captaincy if he is willing. why don't we consider bowlers . if he was the best batsman instead of the best bowler he would be the captain by now. he is mentally strong, agressive and top of his game. he can lead from the front.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 7:06 GMT)

why don't we give captaincy to a bowler, a thinking bowler. Steyn is definitely one. Especially on field he is someone that can get the best out of morkel. or have a specialist keeper and give ab captain and have dekock as opener.

Posted by landl47 on (March 9, 2014, 5:29 GMT)

The problem with being captain when a great side is breaking up, as Ricky Ponting found, is that what the captain did when he had great players doesn't work with youngsters and those of lesser ability. The next captain can't just rely on Kallis & co, he has to shepherd the new players through the challenges of test cricket.

For that reason, I don't think ABD can do it while he's keeping wicket.

Posted by   on (March 9, 2014, 4:05 GMT)

ABD can be a successful skipper. he doesn't need to give up his wicketkeeper role. he can do it. he's MR.AWESOME! don't forget that fellas.

Posted by AjuNair on (March 8, 2014, 20:27 GMT)

I believe AB deserves a chance here to lead the team..Faf can be his deputy..AB is a match winner..AB can bat down the order like MS Dhoni does and come up the order when it is needed..

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 20:20 GMT)

AB seems to be the best choice at the moment based on experience at the highest level...and has been able to learn from Smith during his entire career..Some may say he has "underperfomed" as one day captain but one must remember that the formats are totally diffrrent...and requires different skills in the current era of cricket..Quinten De Kock to replace him as keeper..

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 19:18 GMT)

Faf du Plessis is the best choice for RSA.. AB de Villiers isn't a captaincy material which we have already seen in the ODIs and T20s + it would put pressure on his batting as well!!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 18:00 GMT)

I would have Faff as Test Captain. AB as T20 and ODI captain.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 16:40 GMT)

For me the best option would be to pick your best Test XI, ask them who wants it, and pick from the volunteers. I've always been against picking a player just to captain the side and the captain has to want to do it.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 15:33 GMT)

Please don't make Ab captain? Give to to Faf. Please?

Posted by steve48 on (March 8, 2014, 13:54 GMT)

Faf should be made captain, and DeKoch given time to settle in as a batsman and work on his keeping skills. With Kallis gone, the balance of the side is too badly affected by losing ABs all round skills.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 13:43 GMT)

the decision is so simple now... make quinton to keep and open, help develop-give him some time....and ab will do the captain and batting...

Posted by sturmgeist on (March 8, 2014, 13:18 GMT)

@ZCFOutkast...In all teams, the best batsman comes at 4 or 5. It requires a higher level of skill and intelligence in that position. Most of such them will be able to adapt to openers roles but not vice-versa. AB and Hussey rely a lot on thinking to play their shots and are not just nature's freaks. In fact they are the best thinking players this game has ever seen. Some of the shots which AB plays with consistency against the best and in-form bowlers are what Lara, Punter or Sachin would not even dare to dream of.'Not tactically astute','lacking bravery and imagination'...Please wait, you are overburdening the man. As a batsman alone, he can play for the 'greatest' tags. I do not know about his man-management skills though, and he is guilty of being too attacking sometimes...but there is nothing in cricket this genius cannot do.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 12:17 GMT)

du Plessis should be elevated to captaincy instead of saddling de Villiers with more and more responsibilities. Even if he relinquishes the role of wicket keeper, it might not be such a great idea to make him captain especially because he is such wonderful batsman and should be allowed to remain so. du Plessis is also a very good batsman but enjoys captaincy so he is a better choice.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 11:57 GMT)

The Proteas team of the future: Elgar, Van Zyl, Amla, AB (Capt), Faf (vice-Capt), De Kock (w/k), JP Duminy, Big Vern, Parnell, Steyn, Morkel with Kleinveldt & Abbott & Rilee Roussow kept in close range. Not sure about a spinner: Shaun von Berg and Simon Hammer, maybe develop them for the next year or two?

Posted by ZCFOutkast on (March 8, 2014, 10:17 GMT)

Cook was also a natural successor remember. Just like AB was the current ODI captain & he had impressive ODI&Test form when elevated to Test captaincy. How did that turn out? We've already seen that AB is not tactically astute. The fact that at the first sign of danger he was dropped to the middle order from being an opener, & refuses to give up the gloves so he can take on greater responsibility at #3 or #4 is a sign that he lacks bravery&confidence which will filter into his tactics. Mike Hussey was very similar to AB in that he too hid in the middle order but temporarily got captaincy & it showed that tactics, bravery & imagination were lacking. AUS lost badly & the same happened when AB took over LOIs. Time has made it look better than it is, but he's not good enough! I say appoint Alviro & let's wait&see. Elgar not good enough to open. Has to learn how to bat in the middle or be dropped.

Alviro(c),Amla,AB,Faf,Duminy,Elgar/Bavuma,Tsolekile,Philander,Parnell,Steyn,Leie

Bye Morkel!

Posted by Mervo on (March 8, 2014, 9:28 GMT)

Surprise! Not. Of course they were always going to pick deVilliers.

Posted by WarVdm on (March 8, 2014, 9:19 GMT)

De Kock is not quite ready for Test cricket. Not so much because of his explosive batting, that may not be a bad thing actually (just has to choose the right balls to go after) but mainly because of his glove work. He still has to improve as a wicketkeeper. He has great reflexes, but he still has to read deliveries better and improve his concentration.

AB for captain, Vilas as wicketkeeper. De Kock may be considered in a year or two, he is only 21 after all.

Posted by SHER-A-PANJAB on (March 8, 2014, 7:48 GMT)

@Andre smith ....I agree with you .but I think B Hendricks must be called now .because Dale is now 50% fit since 2012 he could not play continue in all matches in any series....good luck

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 7:38 GMT)

Since Amla has declined captaincy its really a tossup between Du Plessis and DeVilliers. ABD has captained SA with some measure of success in ODIs and if he has to captain the test team, the gloves have to be passed on to de Kock or Kuhn or Tsolekile .I prefer Heino Kuhn ,largely because he has over 100 FC games under him and seems to do alright with bat and has fine glovework too.Apart from that Riley Roussouw should be called up on batting front and so should be STiaan Van Zyl and Vaughan Van Jaarsveld can be given a go if he has sorted out his mental issues.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 7:29 GMT)

My team: 1. (open), 2. Elgar, 3. Hashim, 4. Faf, 5. AB (captain), 6. JP, 7, Quinton (wk), 8. Philander. 9. Steyn, 10. Morkel, 11. Dane Piedt. Petersen is not doing enough to keep his place so we need a new opener. The problem is that there isn't really anyone in domestic cricket who's breaking down the door.

Posted by Noorzai on (March 8, 2014, 7:23 GMT)

U19 is the very bright future for SA to bring one or two batsman and one or two bowlers for ODI and T20.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (March 8, 2014, 6:33 GMT)

To my knowledge none of the current bowlers have any captaincy experience. The only SA bowler who did was Johan Botha - and he was damned good too, but CSA gave him the runaround and he was snapped up by South Australia - as a captain!

de Kock in a natural for the keeper role. It really is a no-brainer. Get him in. His talent is blindingly obvious - train him now!

I have not been a fan of de Villiers captaincy. Interestingly, at school AB's skipper was none other than Faf! Yup, Faf led a storied, champion schools team, in which AB played, as keeper! I don't know whether AB has developed enough captaincy skills yet, or ever will. Apart from Faf there are no other experienced candidates I know of. JP & Alviro are on/off players, and their place in the team is not guaranteed.

After seeing how undercooked SA were in this series, I'm more worried about the coaching.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 5:57 GMT)

du plessis in all three formats and the sides for test elgar peterson amla duplessis de villiers duminy decock parnell/r peterson philander steyn morkel/tahir reserves abott klienveldt for 50 amla decock duplessis devilliers duminy mclaren r peterson parnell philander steyn tsosobe /tahir for 20he same side as 50

Posted by PadMarley on (March 8, 2014, 5:43 GMT)

If you are a good captain being a wicket keeper is not at all a bad position to be at. We saw great examples from MSD and Sanga. But if ADB has a weakness in this, and there is a better candidate for this position [like Sanga gave up the gloves to Prasanna], he might as well pay as a specialist batsman and captain. He certainly carries a fighting spirit that he should be able to make it contagious to the team. Australia is booming again, and we need at least one more nation who can stand-up to that challenge. Indian boom was as fake as a Bollywood movie!

Posted by Noorzai on (March 8, 2014, 5:39 GMT)

for SA lost two legends (Kailais and Smith) they need two replacement which i cant see it. and i think AB is the best choice for cap. and might be the new young De Cock would be new batsman+Keeper.

Posted by ES-26 on (March 8, 2014, 5:28 GMT)

One might say that giving the captaincy to AB will cause harm to him in terms of performance because he also handles the gloves but Sanga and MSD both did this job of captaining, wicket keeping and batting at 4 or 5.

Posted by malkit96 on (March 8, 2014, 5:24 GMT)

I dont think steyn will be good choice for captaincy

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 5:15 GMT)

Dhoni has never prospered as a batsman in test level..!!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 5:03 GMT)

AB(c)D Why u so awesome ?? Salute for your awesomeness __/\__ Is there anything which AB(c)D can't do ..??

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 8, 2014, 5:01 GMT)

what about Amla or Du Plessis

Posted by Albert_cambell on (March 8, 2014, 4:58 GMT)

De villiers or Amla are the next candidates for test match captaincy and it should go to either one of these two. But, what I like about De villiers is he can lead from the front. He nearly averages 63 in ODI matches as a captain and he is a cool player in pressure situations. On the Hand Amla will be having more responsibility on filling up the gap created by the retirements of Smith and Kallis. He will be expected to contribute more with the bat and lets not put the burden of captaincy on his shoulders. Let him focus on his batting. So Captaincy should be given to DeVilliers.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (March 8, 2014, 4:46 GMT)

Amla should be made captain, he looks to be more calm and commanding

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

My view is that both AB and Faf will make good test captains. Yet I believe Faf would make an even better test captain and leader than AB. Faf has the character and leadership skills to captain a test side. It would nice to see AB focus mainly on his batting and go down in history as one of the greats. As Quinton develops his glove skills, he can hand over the keeping job to Quinton. Then focus mostly on his batting. But which ever way it goes, the leadership will be covered by AB and Faf in the three formats.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 4:25 GMT)

I believe he could it just at Dhoni and how well he has lead India for a number of years

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 3:49 GMT)

de villiers is first and best choice

Posted by Clyde on (March 8, 2014, 3:49 GMT)

While de Villiers knows his own game very well, and perhaps because he does, I wonder whether he is interested in working out and working on the weaknesses of the opposition. I would be inclined to not look a gift horse in the mouth by in any way compromising such good batting. SA could try making de Villiers an opening batsman and captain, if he is such a natural leader, and win that way. But SA may also need more of the rat cunning (my reading) in the 'brains trust' Cullinan has referred to.

Posted by Rohit-Sen on (March 8, 2014, 3:44 GMT)

Anyone suggesting That since Dhoni is doing all three, it can be done should look at Dhobi's test record also... It's dismal...

Posted by wapuser on (March 8, 2014, 3:43 GMT)

@Umair, I would say that De Villers' batting is more important to his side than Dhoni's, so they would need him to remain at the top of his game by giving up the gloves. I would also argue that being in the field makes on-field captaincy easier.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (March 8, 2014, 3:29 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa on (March 7, 2014, 18:01 GMT), I'm not saying that this is or is not the case with Steyn but there are a great many people who are excellent at leading by deed and even with a few stirring words now and again but don't respond so well if the mantle of leadership is officially placed on their shoulders. I think that, most importantly though, most people would like a bowler to be able to concentrate on his bowling while in the field. If you have to think about the other guy's fields and the rest between your own overs then it will be that much harder to concentrate on your own bowling. It also means no proper relaxation between spells. I would never rule out a bowler as captain but they'd have to be a significantly better candidate then the others to be selected.

As for AB, I wonder whether they might look at another keeper if he was to made captain. He may respond well but you'd need to be prepared if his batting most importantly was affected.

Posted by Bones87 on (March 8, 2014, 3:22 GMT)

We don't see bowlers as captains anymore because they're more likely to need games off for injury or rest.

Posted by vallavarayar on (March 8, 2014, 3:21 GMT)

They should give the captaincy to Ryan McLaren. He is least burdened by any duties.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 3:09 GMT)

Giving it to Faf is perhaps the way to go. SA made Smith a captain when when very young and inexperienced. Plus Faf has already leadership experience from school level onwards. He is also a slightly younger than AB. That wd leave AB to focus on his batting and, for the present, his wicket keeping roles. With the top order unsettled with Smith and Kallis retiring in quick succession, AB and Amla have to lead the batting for sometime until the others come to speed if SA wants to retain its hold on to the pole position.

Posted by marlon17 on (March 8, 2014, 2:59 GMT)

To me Faf to be captain while De Kock to be vice captain... Faf is a captain material where as AB is is average when it comes to the captaincy..,.. #Proteas

Posted by xylo on (March 8, 2014, 2:39 GMT)

I'd go with Faf; he's got the credentials and grittiness. Nothing against ABdV, but his fitness is at par with Clarke's back.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 2:17 GMT)

Devilliers and du plessis are best mates and confirmed as reliable batsmen, it really is between these two, and they should decide amongst themselves. The bigger question is more the top order, is De Koch going to be opening in tests from now on? If so great, but is Peterson the right partner for him? Is amla at 3 and faf at 4? I think top order was reason south Africa lost the test series, if faf and Devilliers come in at 3-150 it's much more likely of victory than 3-50.

Posted by wapuser on (March 8, 2014, 2:02 GMT)

Dont burden a grt player lke devillers wd keeping gloves n captncy both.....c dhoni cudn't justify test cptncy for away series n moreover he always gve places to csk team aka srini team....

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 1:10 GMT)

Obviously ABD will be the next choice for TEST captaincy after Biff!

Posted by Robster1 on (March 8, 2014, 1:06 GMT)

Tempted to go with du Plessis as skipper.

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (March 8, 2014, 1:01 GMT)

Honestly shocked that no one is going nuts about De Kock being picked even though he is the natural choice to keep. Far better than any other option SA have and much younger than Tsoleki.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 0:54 GMT)

Bowler's don't captain because it's far too much to take on! and dhoni has done a terrible job as captain/keeper. especially outsidr India!!

Posted by foozball on (March 8, 2014, 0:50 GMT)

Dale Steyn is nearly 31. He probably has 2 good years left in him, possibly 3. Highly unlikely he'd be as potent in 4 years as now.

That's why not Steyn.

Posted by Tangles74 on (March 8, 2014, 0:34 GMT)

Not against bowlers here as captain by any means, but just the added risk of a bowler being injured, vs the significantly lower risk of a batsman being injured, would worry me.

The potential in for 3 tests, then out for 2 with an injury, then back in again, when you are a captain, makes it a difficult choice, no matter how good a captain the bowler may be. Would have to have an impact on team performance and cohesion.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2014, 0:14 GMT)

If South Africa play six tests before the World Cup then how come they are not in the International Calender page?

Posted by dunger.bob on (March 7, 2014, 23:36 GMT)

The article actually says that they don't consider any of the bowlers to be captaincy material. It doesn't say why though. Obviously they have their reasons. AB it is then, at least for the immediate future.

@ Umair Babar Chishti: Dhoni normally bats at 7 doesn't he? .. He's a rare and talented cricketer for sure but even he might struggle if he was batting at 5 or higher. One thing that comes into play batting higher is the reduced recovery time for the keeper. It's hard work keeping and when you've been in the field for a day and a half the last thing you need is to be out there batting too quickly.

Posted by mxnmxn on (March 7, 2014, 23:34 GMT)

Steyn is more natural choice. Kapil Dev, Imran Khan were also good captains. ABD or Amla are also good choices.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 23:29 GMT)

I really don't see why De Villiers can't do the job. Try one series with him as keeper but if that doesn't work throw the gloves to De Kock or even bring back Tsolekile (I'd like to see a return to specialist keepers...).

Posted by crh8971 on (March 7, 2014, 23:14 GMT)

I think the reality of modern cricket is that South Africa are in a good position to have two legitimate candidates in ABDV and Faf. In the modern era with national team cricketers spending so much time away from their first class teams they rarely get appointed captain. Much more likely to be the solid first class performer who is unlikely to be considered for higher honours. The most talented are fast tracked, often the youngest in the teams they play for and therefore get little chance to lead. There is no doubt that AB is an absolute champion of SA cricket and the first player in the world I would poach for Australia if I could but that is no guarantee he will make a great captain. Also having AB keep gives SA the luxury of playing JP at 7 and still pick 4 frontline bowlers. Maybe it is just a result of seeing the great defensive innings he has played against us but I have a feeling Faf would be the better choice.

Posted by mrmonty on (March 7, 2014, 23:05 GMT)

@Umair Babar Chishti, and how is being captain of all formats, while being the keeper working out for Dhoni?

Posted by nareshgb1 on (March 7, 2014, 22:53 GMT)

you cant be quick and captain - unless you are Imran Khan. Peerless.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (March 7, 2014, 22:48 GMT)

Dhoni does all three keeping, captaining, batting very well in all three formats and IPL playing almost 12 months of the year plus he handles the difficult Indian media so why is De Villiers so soft.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 22:46 GMT)

Here is one from left field - Johan Botha. SA need a spinner and he has proven to be a good leader in South Australia.

Posted by SaifQazi on (March 7, 2014, 22:43 GMT)

Why do Boards always turn to batsmen as their captains? The trend to have premier fast bowler as captain seems to have stopped all together just because Australia in their pomp had Taylor, Waugh & Ponting as their captain, doesn't mean the other teams have to emulate them. I understand there is always this danger the bowler is a little less reliable, fitness wise, as compared to a batsman but I also feel bowlers are more aggressive & attacking, hence it translates into their captaincy too. Bowlers as captain tip ahead, but then not just any bowler. A great one at that. Why not Steyn & let little heat off AB? Having said that, we know AB will take over the reigns and its imperative that he gives up the gloves for the ultimate job. One example we saw in the recent series is deep fielders hung up on throwing the bowl on bounce & AB struggling to collect the bowl at the same time.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 22:11 GMT)

Yes Dhoni is doing all 3 but he is feeble and unimaginative as a captain, so that example doesn't hold.

Posted by line.and.length on (March 7, 2014, 21:59 GMT)

Pt 2. Then there's the bowlers. Johnson will hopefully terrorise batsman for many more years to come, but there's also Stark, Pattinson, Bird, Cummins, Faulkner, and they're just the ones who have proven themselves at test level... the saffas already have ABDV, Amla (legends), but these two are almost equivalent to having 4 very good bats in your side. Still not completely sold on Du Plessis yet, get the feeling he might be brought back to earth like Philander has, but he's still got much promise... The worrying thing for saffas is having a bowling unit to match the aussies, just can't see it happening... I mean when it's all said and done, it takes 20 wickets to win a test match.....yes the saffas hadn't lost a series for a while, but which true self respecting sporting team/athlete ultimately plays to not lose as opposed to playing to win all the time? Normal service is being restored

Posted by line.and.length on (March 7, 2014, 21:40 GMT)

Pt 1. Let's call a spade a spade people. This South African side was pretty good, and very consistent, just like throughout their cricketing history.... but it so happens that it coincided with the same time that Oz went through a regrettable rebuilding stage (I say regrettable cos despite the loss of some legends, there were many questionable decisions made.... katich, handling of p hughes, hodge etc).... But this next period should be very tantalising as Oz are starting to, only starting (ok bolting) play with the dominance and skill of yesteryear. I don't think Warner is near full potential, hope he gets there. How much more legendary will Clarke get? Can S Smith turn into S Waugh 2.0? There will need to be one more bat to join them in skill and consistency.....

Posted by xmantra23 on (March 7, 2014, 21:29 GMT)

after deviller takes on the captaincy role. his batting will suffer for sure. history has show thats what happens. So the SA side will be in more pressure now with their best batsman under-performing.It won't be much before they loose the no 1 title in test now.

Posted by wapuser on (March 7, 2014, 21:28 GMT)

Good choice.... he lead the team from the front. If AB leave the job of wicketkeeper... Wel SA have Quinton de Kock. Good young keeper nd batsman.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 21:21 GMT)

The guys who tell that bowlers can't be captain, have u forgotten Wasim Akram and Imran Khan. Both were primarily bowlers and led their teams for longer periods, and led quite successfully.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 21:12 GMT)

Bowlers are usually not considered as captain because the hardest part of captaincy is what is done when fielding. You usually don't want someone to be focussing on both their own bowling and field placements all at the same time, which means AB and Faf are much more viable candidates than Steyn or Morkel.

Having said that there have been captains recently that add captaincy to whatever pressure they have on the field (Vettori as an allrounder, Dhoni and Brendan Taylor keeping, etc).

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 20:00 GMT)

Dhoni should give up keeping in tests and ODIs as well so he can work with his bowlers better.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 19:50 GMT)

Ab captain, de cock keeper. end of. Peterson Elgar Amla FAF AB De Cock JP Parnell Philander Steyn Morkel

Elgar and Duminy take on joint spin role

Posted by lovesanga on (March 7, 2014, 18:08 GMT)

what about steyn???????????

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 18:06 GMT)

Steyn should be considered. Dhoni is doing all three, so i can't see any harm

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (March 7, 2014, 18:01 GMT)

Steyn must be one of the most competitive cricketers on a cricket field. The way he digs deep and just keeps coming at you is unreal. We also saw how much resolve and determination he has by surviving for so long with the bat. Why cant he be a captain. Why dont we see bowlers as captains anymore?

Posted by mzm149 on (March 7, 2014, 17:58 GMT)

An excellent batsman and wicket keeper but sorry to say an average captain.

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 17:58 GMT)

Quicks are way to burdened when having to captain a team, test sides just do not like that.. let the guys in the slips worry about field positions/selections/ bowling changes/ lineups/ etc. Let the bowlers focus on hitting line and length. Captains arnt burdened when they go out to bat just the field, thats why a bowler won't shouldn't captain

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 17:56 GMT)

De villiers to captain and De kock slips in nicely as keeper

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 17:47 GMT)

When all the potential captains for SA discussed so far were all batsmen, does it mean that the distinguished bowlers in Steyn & Morkel having done a fantastic job for SA, bestowing additional pressure on them will take away the magic touch & sheen in their bowling ? Or they do they lack the captaincy stuff in them?

Posted by   on (March 7, 2014, 17:39 GMT)

When all these guys [all batsmen] are being considered for the top post, why no one has spoken about Steyn or Morkel ?Is it because of the apprehension that their magical touch with the ball will vanish, once they are burdened with additional responsibility or they don't have the captaincy stuff at all?

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