Faf du Plessis will captain South Africa in all formats after being confirmed as AB de Villiers' successor in ODIs. Du Plessis has been in charge of the T20 team since February 2013 and the Test squad since August last year. Du Plessis is likely to take the ODI team to the 2019 World Cup.
Du Plessis' first assignment as South Africa's captain in all formats will be a home series against Bangladesh later this month, which consists of two Tests, three ODIs and three T20s. He is also the marquee player for the Stellenbosch franchise in the T20 Global League which will run from November 3 to December 16. He will then lead South Africa against India, who are due to visit for a full tour including four Tests, and four Tests against Australia. Du Plessis will not have an away series until at least July 2018, when South Africa are scheduled to tour Sri Lanka.
Du Plessis' heavy workload may be lightened with the assurance that he will have de Villiers back in the Test team. De Villiers confirmed his availability for South Africa across all three formats after a lengthy period of uncertainty over his commitment. De Villiers has not played Test cricket for South Africa since January last year and former players including former captain Graeme Smith confirmed de Villiers was contemplating Test retirement before being convinced to play on.
De Villiers has missed series' against New Zealand (home and away), Australia (away), Sri Lanka (home) and England (away). Although South Africa performed well initially, winning all eight trophies on offer in the 2016-17 summer, they returned from a long tour of England without a series win, but with a myriad problems in their Test batting line-up. De Villiers' return should help sort out that problem.
Du Plessis has long been lauded as the best leader of his peers, and the players in both the T20 and Test squads have bought into his philosophy. "He has established himself as one of the best leaders in world cricket and this was reflected in his appointment as the captain for the World XI currently engaged in the T20 Series against Pakistan," Haroon Lorgat, CSA CEO said.
All that remains is for du Plessis to establish a rapport with the new coach Ottis Gibson, who will arrive in the country in a week's time. Gibson takes over from Russell Domingo, and will remain in charge until the 2019 World Cup. Du Plessis has not worked with Gibson before, but at the end of the England series, said he had spoken to some members of the England team to get some insight into his coaching style.
South Africa have not had one captain across formats since 2010, when Smith, who had led in all formats since 2003, gave up the T20 captaincy. Then, Johan Botha took over for a brief period before de Villiers was made limited-overs captain in 2011. De Villiers handed over the T20 reins to du Plessis two years later. He had hoped to succeed Smith as Test captain but lost out to Hashim Amla.
De Villiers eventually led South Africa in Tests when Amla stepped down in January 2016. De Villiers only captained in a temporary role before injury saw du Plessis take charge of the Test team. Du Plessis had captained in ODIs before, nine times between 2013 and 2016, when de Villiers was either injured or unavailable.