South Africa news May 16, 2014

SA's next captain not an automatic choice - Lorgat


The decision on South Africa's next Test captain should not be a straightforward or simple one, according to Cricket SA CEO Haroon Lorgat and team manager Mohammed Moosajee. Although the position is expected to be offered to one of AB de Villiers or Faf du Plessis, Lorgat and Moosajee hope other possibilities will be considered in debates over the next two weeks.

"I would hope the selectors will not have an automatic choice. There is a process that needs to be followed," Lorgat, speaking at the Gauteng Cricket Board Awards on Thursday night, said. "There are several candidates so let's hope it is a tough choice."

South Africa's selection panel have already begun talks and will meet again before CSA's board meeting on June 3 to decide on their recommendation for the next Test captain. The person they choose will have to be ratified by the board before being officially announced. Apart from de Villiers and du Plessis, JP Duminy is has been mentioned as a possible choice, especially in light of his recent form, bigger role in the national team and years in the game.

Duminy has been playing regularly in the Test team since March 2012 with his only absence enforced when he tore his Achilles' tendon in November that year in Australia. He was handed his place back as soon as he returned to full fitness. He has established his place in the middle-order where he plays a pivot role between the specialist batsmen and the lower order, shepherding the tail. He has also been given a job to do with the ball and his offspin has allowed South Africa the option of another bowler.

As one of the more senior members of the side, Duminy is considered to be part of the core group that will lead the rebuilding phase following the twin retirements of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis last summer. That Duminy plays across all three formats makes him one of the constants in the South Africa XI. National coach Russell Domingo has often referred to Duminy as South Africa's "best T20 player," and he is currently the South African with the most runs in the IPL, and fifth on the overall standings.

What may work against Duminy is that he has not captained previously but South Africa's administrators have shown that is not insurmountable hurdle. Smith only played eight Tests before being made national captain at age of 22 while de Villiers had not led at any level when he succeeded Smith as ODI and T20 skipper. What is more important, according to Moosajee, is that the person entrusted with the job is able to continue to apply the team culture South Africa have built over the last few years.

"We are a diverse country with a diverse group of players and we have a melting pot of cultures in the dressing room. We have built our team environment around that, which has meant learning and respecting each other's backgrounds and using that to become a strong unit," Moosajee said. "We are fortunate that we've had inspirational leaders in the past and now we hope to have another one. We have four or five people that can fill the role."

Both Lorgat and Moosajee cautioned against looking for another Smith, who led the team for nine years and played in it for over a decade. "Graeme was one of a kind - he was tough and he wore his heart on his sleeve," Moosajee said. For Lorgat, Smith's lengthy tenure has left South Africa with "a lot to build on but big shoes to fill."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Clifford on May 19, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    @GreatestGame: re Amla not wanting to be captain - read The plot thickens and the Beard looms! Greatest bearded captain since WG Grace? :-D

  • Dummy4 on May 19, 2014, 11:32 GMT

    Duminy at times has been a lucky test selection with many form slumps. I do not see him as a leader and certainly doesn't have the astute cricket brain and steely determination of Amla.

  • David on May 18, 2014, 16:35 GMT

    @ ZCFOutkast predictably suggests "Alviro Petersen for Test captain next 2 years(while Bavuma is groomed as next captain)."

    You endlessly repeat this suggestion, never with justification. Alviro's ave is 37.05, he was dropped once, & his spot in the team is always under question! He's played some great innings - Leeds 2012 - but many more poor ones. Consistently seeing off the new ball is an opener's job, but Alviro is erratic, exposing the middle order early. His spot is no more secure than Faf's, & for that reason neither should get the job.

    Bavuma has yet to make the national team, & his 1st class ave of 35 does not suggest he will. Why would he be groomed?

    Your suggestions have one commonality: they are NOT based on cricketing criteria, but on a clearly evident social agenda. As you have revealed yourself not to be South African, we should not be surprised you continue to attempt to insert your social politics into our cricket.

    Here we talk cricket. Let us keep it that way!

  • greig on May 18, 2014, 13:30 GMT

    Initially I wanted to Faff to get the job. I thought he had better banter with the press and could handle pressure really well. But the T20 world cup was a real eye opener for me in terms of Faffs captaincy deficiencies. Bowling Morkel for an additional over after he went for 35 runs in the first two was just crazy. Batting order was for me, completely wrong too which sits under the captains responsibility.

    Faff batting himself too high up the order (3), this was out of arrogance or trying to lead from the front, either way it was a failure. Hansie, who was one of our best captains batted at 5 or 6. He put the team first and his ego aside.

    AB is the man for me. Because he is undroppable from a talent perspective and he really wants it. We saw in that T20 World Cup game against England when Faff was absent. AB did a great job and got us to the next stage.

  • ZCF on May 18, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    Alviro Petersen for Test captain next 2 years(while Bavuma is groomed as next captain).

    He is the best man to lead the side right now. I really can't see all of Elgar, Faf, JP&Morne being able to justify their selection ahead of Alviro over the next 2 years, so he can't&won't be dropped ... alone. Besides I've said before that AB(like Rudolph) was lowered down the order when opening was tough, so Alviro would rightly demand similar courtesy as well.

    TEST XI: Alviro(c), Amla, AB, Faf, Elgar, JP, Bavuma, Tsolekile(wk), Philander, Parnell, Steyn

    I think Elgar+JP will make a good spinning combination. JP can bowl longer spells with an emphasis on containing, while Elgar can be more attacking in shorter spells. Heck Faf can be an attacking spin option too if he works on his game a bit more. Afterall, with his inconsistency, he might need his spin to keep him in the team, just like JP&Elgar.

    Finally, they MUST get rid of ineffective Morne Morkel. Not good enough for Test cricket anymore!

  • David on May 17, 2014, 16:22 GMT

    @ landl47 commented "I'm sure South Africa will be a decent side, but their time as a top side looks to be drawing to a close."

    Perhaps so, but we'll still go on thrashing England & retiring their skippers. That is a given!

    Try this: look at the ICC player rankings.Who is at the top of those lists? Now, count the number of South African players at the upper end of the lists. (Note: KP, Trott, Prior etc don't count as Saffas!)

    With all those top end players, is SA truly experiencing a Decline and Fall like the Roman Empire? Losing Smith is tough. Losing Kallis is tougher. Yet, SA STILL has a FULL XI of established, experienced, high ranking players! SA's biggest problem is who to leave out, not which player to pluck from obscurity, throw into a test to rack up some horrible figures, & then discard for the next sacrifice!

    Don't kid yourself: SA has been a top side since readmission, & will stay a top side. Look at the team rankings for the last 20 years. Read them, and weep!

  • David on May 17, 2014, 15:51 GMT

    @ Ronaldus writes "There's only one guy who can deliver all of this and retain the respect of everyone, especially his team mates and that's Hashim Amla. The question is : will he be prepared to do so?"

    The answer is: NO! Hash wants nothing of captaincy. Tried it, hates it, said so publicly.

    But then, he might change his mind. There is precedent for that!

    In 2009 AB said in an interview he had absolutely no desire or intention to go back to keeping wicket. (Most don't know he started cricket as a keeper, has years of experience, & was ALWAYS Boucher's backup.) When Bouch was injured, AB was persuaded to take the gloves. He was not keen on the idea, but followed the team's wishes. (He had already been keeping in the short formats.)

    After a while he realized that he was actually enjoying being behind the stumps in tests. He found it stimulating & energizing.

    Maybe Hash would say yes, & find he enjoys it after all. Who knows?

    However, his official position is still NO WAY!

  • David on May 17, 2014, 15:30 GMT

    AB started as skipper with a rock star mentality. He thought he had a new & daring approach. He failed, badly, was humbled, & learned harsh, but valuable, lessons. I heavily criticized his captaincy, but his recent showings make me think he has matured, & found balance between unorthodox instincts & the conservative orthodoxy he learned under Smith & The King. AB learned the job, on the job! Never easy!

    Hansie - rest his tortured soul - had unorthodox, but killer instincts, that brought us wins. We need some of his magic back: its time to be less verkramp! AB does have it in him.

    AB is a natural choice: a superb batsman in rare form, with the most international experience as player & skipper. We invested HEAVILY in his inexperience & failures. He is past the initial learning curve, & showing the spark of 'Hansie magic.' Giving up now would be a criminal waste: we MUST have courage, go the final distance, & TRULY see if that costly investment pays off.

    If it does not, replace him.

  • Dummy4 on May 17, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    What a Joke by Haroon Largat and his colleague the automatic choice is world grate batsman A.B.Devil liars only lead person at the S.A peak point

  • Ron on May 17, 2014, 14:04 GMT

    Read Ponting's autobiography and Graeme Smith's books and you get an idea of how complex being captain of a national side is. Then add South Africa's unique complexities and you end up with looking for a miracle man . . .who we will expect to lead the side back to the top of the rankings almost immediately. Oh, and by the way; he'll need to know how to bat and succeed against the best bowlers in the world too. There's only one guy who can deliver all of this and retain the respect of everyone, especially his team mates and that's Hashim Amla. The question is : will he be prepared to do so?

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