South Africa in Sri Lanka 2013 August 7, 2013

Faf better than AB, but no third option

While Faf du Plessis' captaincy was more confident than AB de Villiers' in Sri Lanka, South Africa have not invested in grooming a leader during a decade of Graeme Smith and are left with little choice beyond the two
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Minutes after South Africa lost the fifth ODI to Sri Lanka, national selector Shafiek Abrahams said that in his view, Faf du Plessis' leadership skills were superior to AB de VIlliers'. Abrahams was on a post-match television show casting a critical eye on the team's performances but his co-analysts missed the opportunity to ask him what the administration's concerns with the current captaincy were and if or how they planned to act on it. Given his position in the set-up, he may have had an answer.

Abrahams was part of the panel that appointed de Villiers ODI and Twenty20 captain in June 2011, when Gary Kirsten took over the coaching reigns. He was also part of the panel that relieved de Villiers of the T20 duty in December 2012 and transferred the armband to Faf du Plessis. Now it seems the doubts that decision hinted at may have deepened.

That the ODI team de Villiers captains lost 4-1 to Sri Lanka while the T20 team du Plessis leads won 2-1 is not the point. The two units are at different stages of their development and the captains alone are not to blame for the outcomes. Both men struggled for fluency and form with the bat until the last match of the respective series but they differed in how they approached their leadership roles.

De Villiers' series began with a strategic conundrum. South Africa chose to field two specialist spinners, both left-armers, in the first two matches. Against a line-up laden with right-hand batsmen and with some of the best players of spin in the world, it was asking for trouble. That de Villiers struggled to manage them was hardly a surprise.

But he also struggled to manage in general. There was an instance in the second match when he wanted Robin Peterson, who opened the bowling, to make way for Chris Morris, who wasn't aware he was being called on. Morris had not warmed up and was obviously surprised. It was only a small indication of non-communication but it was still notable.

His habit of introducing a part-timer to bowl at times of uncertainty is proving too much of a gamble - it has worked on isolated occasions, including once for Farhaan Behardien this series, but it is not a consistently sound tactic. It also shows de Villiers' own uncertainty, a trait he has been captain for too long to still have.

Du Plessis' confidence in his own ability is more obvious. He uses his bowlers with assurance, even if it means making what could be seen as a harsh call. When David Wiese bowled an expensive first over on debut in the first T20, he was immediately taken off as South Africa looked to limit Sri Lanka. When du Plessis saw Lonwabo Tsotsobe having success in his opening spell in the second T20, he bowled him out. He also used legspinner Imran Tahir to good effect.

For many, the difference between the two is not a surprise. Du Plessis captained the schools team de Villiers was part of. He also captained the amateur Northerns side. De Villiers did not captain at any level before international, probably in part because he made his international debut so young.

De Villiers was 20 when he first played for South Africa. He was a youngster who had to toe the line. At the same time, du Plessis was developing leadership at lower levels, be it club cricket at Lancashire or at the Titans franchise. That does not mean du Plessis should take over from de Villiers in ODIs but it should tell South Africa some of what they need to do in future: groom a captain.

When de Villiers was appointed, South African cricket needed a change. The 2011 World Cup had left severe scarring and the duo of de Villiers and Hashim Amla - who has since stepped down as vice-captain - were thought to bring a fresh start.

De Villiers' schoolboy charm, enthusiasm and talent were thought to be the ingredients of a strong leader. Amla was another expected choice. He had captained at Under-19 level and at his franchise, Dolphins, but became averse to leadership there in a season where his batting suffered because of it.

He accepted the role in the senior side because he thought he was more ready for it but when he realised he wasn't, after standing in for de Villiers on occasion, he stepped down. By then, du Plessis had had a mature start to his Test career and was considered ready for a more important role. Apart from him, there is little other choice.

A quick scan of the captains at franchise level reveals a lack of candidates. Either the teams are captained by players who have had their run for South Africa and are unlikely to get another chance - Justin Ontong at Cobras and Johan van der Wath at Knights - or those who are not yet established in their international careers like Henry Davids at Titans and Ingram at Warriors.

Dolphins have recently recruited a new captain who is actually an old player. Morne van Wyk will lead them while Lions use one of Alviro Petersen, Thami Tsolekile or Stephen Cook, none of whom can be considered a young leader. Ontong also captains the A side which leaves little room for developing a leader there.

Perhaps as a result, South Africans are rarely sought after as captains in overseas competitions. None of them were put in charge of an IPL team, where Australians are often used, and only Andrew Hall and Neil McKenzie captain on the county circuit.

One theory about South Africa not developing captains has to do with the stature of their current Test leader Graeme Smith, who has been in the job for a decade. For nine of those years he also captained the one-day team. Of the current players, only Jacques Kallis has played international cricket longer.

Smith was appointed young, at 22, because South Africa needed an emergency replacement. Hansie Cronje had also been a strong leader and with his sudden fall from grace, they simply had to find someone to fill the gap. Shaun Pollock was one of the best cricketers in the side and one of the most reliable and level-headed but he lacked the type of aggression that comes with leadership.

"After the 2003 World Cup, when Shaun had to go, we decided on Graeme because we saw in him the qualities of a leader," said Hugh Page, who was on the committee that appointed Smith. Smith started shakily, confusing being brash with being bold but he had to assert himself somehow and had a long rope with which to so.

"We knew we would get a lot of years out of him," Page said. They were right. And because of the certainty Smith brought over the last ten years, South Africa have not had to concern themselves with where to find their next leader.

Captains are not easy to find. Not only do they have to be able to inspire, instruct and inform, they also have to take care of intricacies like over-rates and the use of technology. Page believes South Africa need to start looking for someone who "has good people skills and is unflappable on and off the field." He said a good captain is someone who can "command respect through his performances and behaviour" and who is also able to have empathy and "understand the personal circumstances of his team-mates."

For one person, especially an inexperienced one, to be all of these things is asking for a baby to walk before it can crawl, which is why Page emphasised that whoever is South Africa captain - even if it remains the two limited-overs incumbents - he needs "strong support." Because they are leading young teams, it will be up to the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Tsotsobe and Peterson, who have all been around for a long time, to prop up the leader.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 8, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    Both are 'classy' guys. Both of them have the qualities of very successful and likeable captains. As a Sri Lankan supporter I quite like both the guys. AB has experience and stastics behind him. In other words he has proved to be a great batsman. Just because he lost a few ODIs in SL he does not deserve any negative reviews. Du Plesis again a classy guy who appears to have a great future, but he is relatively new to the game. Let him mature slowly. He will get his chance when the time comes. I wish them both success in the future.

  • on August 9, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    I find the issue of grooming ridiculous. As cricketers and lovers of the game all players should be keen to understand the tactics involved in winning cricket matches. Just as us lounge chair enthusiasts have an opinion on everything from slip catches, bowling tactics, field placing to declarations. Any senior player should be able to captain the side. The problem with SA is that aside from Faf none of them want the job. Duminy Duminy Duminy!

  • Bub10 on August 9, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    De Villers should be given more chances....its still early days...but my question is that why are the selectors ignoring J P Duminy as a captaincy candidate????

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on August 9, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    This is very important aspect of Southafrica 's cricket .Smith took long and longer time as a captain,he got almost 50% success but completely failed to build good,friendly cricket team.He never looked towards the young talents of the nation who would replace KAllis,Boucher ,gibbs ext.The team was winning one match and lost next one as usually SA do.So finally FAF is a much batter option than Ab in all format of cricket.He showed a significant sign of a good captain ship because he has faith for young cricketers like De Kock,Phangiso,wiese ,or may he suggest to SA board for Kyle,ELGAAR,Rossow,JENNING,LENGE ,Handricks ,haarman Zyl, Coatzee ext. so we wish DU may help to build a best ODI team and win 2015.So SA board should go together to find the best talent to make strong bench strength nor looking for the old legends,After HANSIE we have excellent hope from FAF....good luck.....!

  • on August 9, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Why does a bowler doesn't get the chance often to be the captain. We are talking here about de Villleres, Amla and even Duplesis but what about Dale Steyn. He is the player who is there for very long time now and with so much of experience he can be a good interim captain for 3-4 yrs until SA found another G.Smith. Another thing is he is not injury prone which is another major quality nowadays required in captain. He is the best available option in my view.

  • Sakthiivel on August 9, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    Faf is a quick learner and that reflecting on the field. SA should not put captaincy pressure on AB so that they can unleash his batting. They need a quick fix asap.

  • quittthewhinging on August 8, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    We will never know what pressure was put on him but de Villiers' faffing about (no pun intended) when the question of his keeping wicket came up, did not inspire confidence in him. He had quite clearly said that keeping wicket put a strain on his dodgy back but nevertheless he did a complete about turn and decided that he would keep wicket. Even if the selectors had a say in this, he should have firmly said NO. Faf is no better as captain. There have been cases where a bowler is sending down complete crap and they both are nevertheless all smiles; Graeme Smith on the other hand would have clearly shown his displeasure and had words with the bowler. I don't believe a captain grows into the job; he either has a talent for the job or he doesn't. But Firdose is right, there are really no other candidates available.

  • marlon17 on August 8, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    Bring back Smith as the captain for 2015 WC... After that Faf should take over him.. Ab s one f the best batsman in the world.. bt nt a good captain at all...

  • Robster1 on August 8, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    And of course the man who should be leading both the ODI ad 20/20 team is now just playing state cricket in Australia. Shame on those who forced Johan Botha out of the country.

  • on August 8, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    Why is Duminy over looked as a captain? He bats bowls and feilds brilliantly. He seems to be the most stable performer and understands the game well. Perhaps he is not the most authoritive figure but then we'd rather have someone with a calm head out there. He has dug us out of many a dire situations.

  • on August 8, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    Both are 'classy' guys. Both of them have the qualities of very successful and likeable captains. As a Sri Lankan supporter I quite like both the guys. AB has experience and stastics behind him. In other words he has proved to be a great batsman. Just because he lost a few ODIs in SL he does not deserve any negative reviews. Du Plesis again a classy guy who appears to have a great future, but he is relatively new to the game. Let him mature slowly. He will get his chance when the time comes. I wish them both success in the future.

  • on August 9, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    I find the issue of grooming ridiculous. As cricketers and lovers of the game all players should be keen to understand the tactics involved in winning cricket matches. Just as us lounge chair enthusiasts have an opinion on everything from slip catches, bowling tactics, field placing to declarations. Any senior player should be able to captain the side. The problem with SA is that aside from Faf none of them want the job. Duminy Duminy Duminy!

  • Bub10 on August 9, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    De Villers should be given more chances....its still early days...but my question is that why are the selectors ignoring J P Duminy as a captaincy candidate????

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on August 9, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    This is very important aspect of Southafrica 's cricket .Smith took long and longer time as a captain,he got almost 50% success but completely failed to build good,friendly cricket team.He never looked towards the young talents of the nation who would replace KAllis,Boucher ,gibbs ext.The team was winning one match and lost next one as usually SA do.So finally FAF is a much batter option than Ab in all format of cricket.He showed a significant sign of a good captain ship because he has faith for young cricketers like De Kock,Phangiso,wiese ,or may he suggest to SA board for Kyle,ELGAAR,Rossow,JENNING,LENGE ,Handricks ,haarman Zyl, Coatzee ext. so we wish DU may help to build a best ODI team and win 2015.So SA board should go together to find the best talent to make strong bench strength nor looking for the old legends,After HANSIE we have excellent hope from FAF....good luck.....!

  • on August 9, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    Why does a bowler doesn't get the chance often to be the captain. We are talking here about de Villleres, Amla and even Duplesis but what about Dale Steyn. He is the player who is there for very long time now and with so much of experience he can be a good interim captain for 3-4 yrs until SA found another G.Smith. Another thing is he is not injury prone which is another major quality nowadays required in captain. He is the best available option in my view.

  • Sakthiivel on August 9, 2013, 2:32 GMT

    Faf is a quick learner and that reflecting on the field. SA should not put captaincy pressure on AB so that they can unleash his batting. They need a quick fix asap.

  • quittthewhinging on August 8, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    We will never know what pressure was put on him but de Villiers' faffing about (no pun intended) when the question of his keeping wicket came up, did not inspire confidence in him. He had quite clearly said that keeping wicket put a strain on his dodgy back but nevertheless he did a complete about turn and decided that he would keep wicket. Even if the selectors had a say in this, he should have firmly said NO. Faf is no better as captain. There have been cases where a bowler is sending down complete crap and they both are nevertheless all smiles; Graeme Smith on the other hand would have clearly shown his displeasure and had words with the bowler. I don't believe a captain grows into the job; he either has a talent for the job or he doesn't. But Firdose is right, there are really no other candidates available.

  • marlon17 on August 8, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    Bring back Smith as the captain for 2015 WC... After that Faf should take over him.. Ab s one f the best batsman in the world.. bt nt a good captain at all...

  • Robster1 on August 8, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    And of course the man who should be leading both the ODI ad 20/20 team is now just playing state cricket in Australia. Shame on those who forced Johan Botha out of the country.

  • on August 8, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    Why is Duminy over looked as a captain? He bats bowls and feilds brilliantly. He seems to be the most stable performer and understands the game well. Perhaps he is not the most authoritive figure but then we'd rather have someone with a calm head out there. He has dug us out of many a dire situations.

  • philvic on August 8, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    Is Graeme Smith going anywhere? Why cant he be captain for the next 5 years? Certainly for the Test side (the only form of cricket that matters)... regarding the knockaround stuff they can do it in rotation - if they dont score enough runs it makes little difference who is captain.

  • on August 8, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    When teams lose the captain and coach always come under pressure. AB just got stock with a poor one-day unit, That doesnt make him a bad captain or Faf a good one.

  • on August 8, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Just cos we won the t20 series and lost the one-day series doesn not mean one is a better captain than the other. The one thing I can say though is that Faf loves the limelight and AB doesnt. Faf wants to be the captain and AB has taken it because he was forced into it. Perhaps Faf is a better option only for this reason. Aside from his last t20 ininnings Faf had a shocking tour and his one-day average has dropped below 20 putting question marks on his place in the side. Until he starts putting up worthy performances and secures his place in the side i see little reason to change.

  • MikeSA on August 8, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    Johan Botha has been the best limited overs captain in SA for a long time, but I'm sure there must have been some political/personal issue that prevented him from fulfilling his promise. I firmly believe that SA could and would have won a world cup if Botha had been captain. Smith and De Villiers are good players, but not good captains in my view. SA has seriously under-performed when you look at the talent available. Why is the best SA team hardly ever selected?

  • nervousnineties on August 8, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    I always thought that Dean Elgar was thought of as the long-term successor to Smith.

    I agree that AB has been disappointing and has not looked comfortable most of the time captaining. Shows that MS Dhoni has actually done brilliantly and that it is not that easy being a top keeper/bat/cappie.

    Maybe they should try giving JP Duminy a go at the 50-overs captaincy. But having said that Faf could probably do the 20/20 and the 50-overs as well.

  • Romanticstud on August 8, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Captaincy is not a babies job, it takes a man ... a great sportsman ... A captain has got to analyse the game and see what the best options are at his disposal ... He has to decide whether to bowl a bowler out in search of wickets or economy or leave him for later in the hope that someone else can take wickets ... he has to decide who should bat when ... to send in a lower order batsman to bolster the run rate or to protect a batsman from a particular bowler ... when to take powerplays ... where to put which fielders ... and for which batsman to try and prevent the batsman from scoring or to trap the batsman ... Added to this he must be able to lead by example ... I reckon Du Plessis should captain the T20 and AB the ODI as being a captain in 2 formats weighs heavily on their performances ... I would retain Smith as the test captain too ...

  • on August 8, 2013, 10:48 GMT

    Johan Botha won us an ODI series down under against the last of the Aussie legends. He has to be considered the greatest captain option we have. And a decent bowler who can choke the opposition (and never loses his cool). Screw the politics - surely we can lure him back for the next five seasons or so?

  • Marktc on August 8, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    I have always maintianed that AB should not be captain. He may be a good leader, but a good leader does not always translate to a good captain. He is one of the best batsman we have had, ad I think he should concentrate on being the legend he can be. Faf, is the best at the moment, baring a miracle and Botha coming back. Faf is a more more mature leader and he is more sure of himself. He uses his players well. The selectors need to wake up now and begin grooming a captain or three for when Smith retires.

  • ravi_hari on August 8, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Captaincy is a specialised job. Everyone do not fit in that easily. Smith took time but showed authority from day 1 and developed skills with every match. Added to it he performed extremely well with the bat that helped gain team and selector's confidence and respect. Brearlys cant be created every now and then. You need a performer and a thinker as captain. On the flip side your best player may not be the best captain material. Look how Botham, Lara and Sachin failed as captains. I think, SA need to give AB a little more time so that either Faf or some one else develop. Faf needs to cement his place in the test team before staking a claim. It would be extremely difficult to lead a side with so many seniors. AB is atleast in that league having played for most part of the last decade together. In fact SA should have opted for Kallis atleast 3 years ago and kept AB as his understudy. By now AB would have learnt the tricks of the trade and slipped easily into the shoes. Hope Faf does so

  • on August 8, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    Jp duminy seems to me a suitable person for the job. He has a permanent place in all the 3 formats and looks to be a level headed and mature enough to lead a side. Adding to that his experience as a player shows he knows how to get going without being carried away. To me, he should be looked on. Otherwise du plessis looks far more comfortable with the role.

  • NixNixon on August 8, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    AB de Villiers is not captaincy material. De Villiers' tactical acumen is terrible and so is his team selection. Something that really gets to me is his attitude towards the game, both when he is batting and when in the field. Often when we loose badly you will find him smiling and laughing like he is attending a circus show. When he is batting, he plays like an amateur and someone who does not know what the situation of the game requires - throwing his wicket away with reckless shots or unwarranted runouts. For me personally, how can you command results from a team when the captain bats like a debutante and laughs when he is in loosing situations. No one in that team will take their cricket serious as their leader does not command respect and performance. De Villiers plays like someone who needs to be captained himself, nervermind being the captain. Currently the whole ODI setup is a circus. No people may start to realise what G Smith brings to the table.

  • on August 8, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    Johan Botha was a brilliant leader until driven out of the country. What is the full story- did Smith feel threatened? AB is a useless captain and Faf while better shouldn't even command a regular place in a one day side. Not batting AB and Miller and not bowling Duminy in the 3rd 20\20 is the kind of insanity we are used to under AB's captaincy.

  • MariusM on August 8, 2013, 9:36 GMT

    I believe that Johan Botha did an excellent job while he was around. I would love to know why he was (or still is) not considered as an option for leading SA in the shorter formats of the game. Is it a question of him not being available OR considered to be not good enough OR not being wanted? And if the latter, why not?

  • on August 8, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    Hire the fans and fire the admin . Faf should have lead the team last year in my opinion, perfect leader. Another option was Johan Botha but sadly he seems lost to South African Cricket and our one day team has lost its edge, poorly managed.? I understand that test cricket is rated higher in South Africa than one dayers which we have always seen as a bit of fun rather than anything serious but its time for a change. We play so much less one day cricket and we seem to be slipping badly. Common Cricket SA, get it right.

  • Clan_McLachlan on August 8, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    The best South African captain after Smith is Johan Botha. But politics have ruled him out, so that horse has bolted.

    I've never thought AB was a good choice of captain, and I've seen nothing to suggest otherwise. I still think we're better off getting the maximum out of his unbelievable batting than using him as an average captain (or even keeper).

    Faf is a better captaincy candidate, although there are question marks over him holding his place in all three formats. Still with the lack of any other candidates I'd give him all three teams and pick him regardless.

    When you look at other international sides the norm is for senior players to spend 2-5 of years as captain. Smith is the exception, and we won't soon find another 22 year old like him. The reality is that the captaincy will be spending shorter periods with different senior team members. Having that succession plan in place is more important than finding the next junior prodigy to captain for the next ten years.

  • AltafPatel on August 8, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    Not agree. During the time of Cronje, no one was given captaincy, still Pollock did excellent job after his exit. When your batsman at their prime form like Amla, ABD, Duminy, you dont disturb their rhythm with extra burden. As Smith still has 4-5 years of cricket, its too early to find his alternative. Captaincy is not all responsible for recent ODI form, should mind that they were without Smith, Kallis, Steyn and somewhat Amla.

  • SunAndSea on August 8, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Even if the AB experiment is not working, it's encouraging that South Africa is trying to groom new captains. A problem in the past was how good captaincy material (Dale Benkenstein, Johan Botha) was ignored.

  • on August 8, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    My pick for future captain of the Test side: Quinton de Kock. Because I see him opening the batting once Smith and Alviro have retired, and I like having an opening batsman as captain - they can literally lead from the front. I don't think either AB or Faf should be considered as future captains of the Test side - they'll both be too old (32 - 33 years old) by the time Smith retires, which will probably be in 3-4 years. We need to look for a youngster to take over for the long term. However, de Kock needs to play domestic cricket for at least a couple of seasons to mature before this happens.

  • sanjai_zequin on August 8, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Hey guys, give time to AB he vl prove he is a good leader, dont you guys remember dat in the smith era also we lost to srilanka in both odi & test , 5-0, 3-0... But with th years smith gained xperience and bcome one of the great captains in the world... So give AB some time and keep faith on him. And also remember this is the first series loss under AB..

    The main reason fo th loss is the inability of our players to build a long innings.. no one xcept duminy performed well in the whole series fo south africa... A captain becomes hero when all of his players plays to his expectations... Now wait fo th series against Pakistan in UAE , and against India at home, AB will comeback... will want to hear wot u all have to tell at dat time...

    Am sure AB have a gud skil in leadership, but he has to make to one of the best with excperience...

    And you all guys dont forget AB was with out his goto man Dale Steyn...

  • i-s-r-a-r on August 8, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    I would prefer faf as the captain also but Problem with him is his horrible odi form. It is simly not international level in any standard. Until he finds his foot in odis, de villiers have to make do.

  • Zak- on August 8, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    Duminy has a good cricketing head. I also hope they try him out as captain.

  • TheShawshankRedemption on August 8, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Looking back at SA team's age and strength, ABD was an automatic choice after Smith fell down from captaincy. This problem is seen in every other team in the name of Angelo, Bravo, Clarke (more than one time), Taylor, ABD and Misbah. All the above said gentleman were the next gen cricketer's during their individual playing era because of their way of playing and temperamental skills during their times as Individual Contributors. Given the captaincy all these people struggled to lead the team because of the added responsibility. This could be because of the pressure and expectations at international level. As far as South Africa, we might have to see Miller as future captain because Faf's place in ODI is uncertain. After all, Smith and Dhoni were all suspected for their abilities for Captain-ship yet proven successful.

  • Shazy777 on August 8, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    Smith is the best option for captaincy in ODIs... He is the part of XI in ODIs sohe should be captained untill 2015 wc... If smith not agree then AB de Villiers is the best option... He lead the side well under difficiult conditions although he lose he series but keep in mind its a young squad... Smith, styen is not part of squad while amla & tsosobe also missed matches due to injury... If SL experince players sangakara, dilshan & jayawardene were not playing in this SL could not win even a single match... duplessis is not ready for ODIs captaincy yet...!!!

  • Gurudumu on August 8, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    AB should not be burdened with leadership responsibilities. He doesn't have the knack to lead - he's a follower. Watching the last T20 world cup; how he handled the bowlers; field settings and when he fronted the cameras, it was clearly evident he was all at sea. He's an exceptionally great player and should not be encumbered with captainship.

  • humdrum on August 8, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Captaincy skills are inborn and Smith is a natural leader.Thinking on your feet,noting the opposition strengths and weaknesses,devising plans and executing them besides man management skills and oh,cricketing skills as well is not everyone's cup of tea.A streak of ruthlessness would help too and a leader's ultimate test comes in adverse circumstances.That is why a captain has to be selected after much thought,but once selected,should be persisted with unless it is clear that he simply is not up to the requirements of the job.

  • Greatest_Game on August 8, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    @ StraightHit. I am really warming to the idea of looking at JP's captaincy skills. AB is clearly not cut out for captaincy, and while Faf does seem to be a good skipper, we need to have a larger leadership base - especially after Johan Botha was sold down the river. He REALLY knows how to captain!

  • Robster1 on August 8, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    Decent article - to this contributor Smith is the man to lead both tests and ODI's until the next World Cup with Faf leading the 20/20 side. AB is a quite superb player but just not a natural leader. From the younger crop, if he can hold his place in the side, Ingram could be a future leader, perhaps Miller too.

  • proteasfire on August 7, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    Well said. Definitely Faf looked lot more confident than AB. AB is not thinking clearly as a captain and doesnt look to select the best playing eleven. He is very soft and doesnt command respect. Faf looks to have the right ingredients and if he gets more consistent with bat can be given a role in ODI too. But definitely AB is the not the captain SA would want to in 2015 WC.

  • RoyRulez on August 7, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    du Plessis might have shown better results but his place in South Africa's ODI team is under a huge question mark. He hasn't done anything to guarantee selection ahead of Ingram or Miller. Honestly, when Smith is back, du Plessis is the most likely candidate to be dropped given the fact that Ingram has had more success at No. 3. The mistake SA made was when Smith was the captain, they had Boucher, Kallis and Prince as his deputy. None of them ever had a realistic chance to succeed Smith. The only guy who had the chance and looked a natural leader was Johan Botha. I don't know whose idea was it to let Botha go, but it not only made SA lose a quality spinner but also their best leader. Beyond the captaincy issue, SA ODI team is missing one guy -- an in-form Albie Morkel. Wish he finds the kind of form he showed in Australia in 2008.

  • duncanmoo on August 7, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    Thank you Firdose I have had this feeling that AB does not have what it takes to be captain, whether it is being too nice, or no seeing the game from a strategic perspective. Will this come with time and experience?

  • CricketChat on August 7, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    JP Duminy is the best bet for SA captaincy. He is a top order batsman and plays all formats. Also, when fully fit, assured of his place in the team. Faf may be OK for T20s, but still not a certainty in other formats.

  • on August 7, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    In last T20 du plesis gave bowl to tsotsobe in 3rd consecutive over when first two have gone over 20. How is it good? Time to bring back smith until someone good is found.

  • on August 7, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    In last T20 du plesis gave bowl to tsotsobe in 3rd consecutive over when first two have gone over 20. How is it good? Time to bring back smith until someone good is found.

  • CricketChat on August 7, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    JP Duminy is the best bet for SA captaincy. He is a top order batsman and plays all formats. Also, when fully fit, assured of his place in the team. Faf may be OK for T20s, but still not a certainty in other formats.

  • duncanmoo on August 7, 2013, 20:35 GMT

    Thank you Firdose I have had this feeling that AB does not have what it takes to be captain, whether it is being too nice, or no seeing the game from a strategic perspective. Will this come with time and experience?

  • RoyRulez on August 7, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    du Plessis might have shown better results but his place in South Africa's ODI team is under a huge question mark. He hasn't done anything to guarantee selection ahead of Ingram or Miller. Honestly, when Smith is back, du Plessis is the most likely candidate to be dropped given the fact that Ingram has had more success at No. 3. The mistake SA made was when Smith was the captain, they had Boucher, Kallis and Prince as his deputy. None of them ever had a realistic chance to succeed Smith. The only guy who had the chance and looked a natural leader was Johan Botha. I don't know whose idea was it to let Botha go, but it not only made SA lose a quality spinner but also their best leader. Beyond the captaincy issue, SA ODI team is missing one guy -- an in-form Albie Morkel. Wish he finds the kind of form he showed in Australia in 2008.

  • proteasfire on August 7, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    Well said. Definitely Faf looked lot more confident than AB. AB is not thinking clearly as a captain and doesnt look to select the best playing eleven. He is very soft and doesnt command respect. Faf looks to have the right ingredients and if he gets more consistent with bat can be given a role in ODI too. But definitely AB is the not the captain SA would want to in 2015 WC.

  • Robster1 on August 8, 2013, 0:28 GMT

    Decent article - to this contributor Smith is the man to lead both tests and ODI's until the next World Cup with Faf leading the 20/20 side. AB is a quite superb player but just not a natural leader. From the younger crop, if he can hold his place in the side, Ingram could be a future leader, perhaps Miller too.

  • Greatest_Game on August 8, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    @ StraightHit. I am really warming to the idea of looking at JP's captaincy skills. AB is clearly not cut out for captaincy, and while Faf does seem to be a good skipper, we need to have a larger leadership base - especially after Johan Botha was sold down the river. He REALLY knows how to captain!

  • humdrum on August 8, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Captaincy skills are inborn and Smith is a natural leader.Thinking on your feet,noting the opposition strengths and weaknesses,devising plans and executing them besides man management skills and oh,cricketing skills as well is not everyone's cup of tea.A streak of ruthlessness would help too and a leader's ultimate test comes in adverse circumstances.That is why a captain has to be selected after much thought,but once selected,should be persisted with unless it is clear that he simply is not up to the requirements of the job.

  • Gurudumu on August 8, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    AB should not be burdened with leadership responsibilities. He doesn't have the knack to lead - he's a follower. Watching the last T20 world cup; how he handled the bowlers; field settings and when he fronted the cameras, it was clearly evident he was all at sea. He's an exceptionally great player and should not be encumbered with captainship.

  • Shazy777 on August 8, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    Smith is the best option for captaincy in ODIs... He is the part of XI in ODIs sohe should be captained untill 2015 wc... If smith not agree then AB de Villiers is the best option... He lead the side well under difficiult conditions although he lose he series but keep in mind its a young squad... Smith, styen is not part of squad while amla & tsosobe also missed matches due to injury... If SL experince players sangakara, dilshan & jayawardene were not playing in this SL could not win even a single match... duplessis is not ready for ODIs captaincy yet...!!!