Faf du Plessis, on Monday (February 17), announced his resignation as the captain of the South Africa cricket team from all formats with immediate effect.
“The last few weeks of rest away from the game have given me a lot of perspective on the great privilege and honour I have had in representing and leading my country in the three formats of this wonderful game. It has been a rewarding, sometimes tough and other times a lonely road, but I would not replace the experience for anything, because it has made me the man that I am proud to be today,” he said in his statement.
The 35-year-old said that he needs to step down from the role in order to make a place for the next-gen players in the team.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who took charge as the ODI skipper for the recent series against England, will lead the team across all formats.
“As the team heads into a new direction with new leaders and a young crop of players, I feel it will be in the best interests of South African cricket to relinquish the captaincy in all formats. This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton, Mark and my teammates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group,” he added.
With the ICC T20 World Cup due later this year, the new captain may face difficulty in managing the jam-packed calendar which has both home and away international tours.
However, Du Plessis has ensured that he will very much be a part of the team and would want to focus on contributing as a batsman and an experienced player to guide the young talent as they eye the coveted T20 title.
“In a perfect world I would have loved to lead the team in the Tests for the rest of the season as well as the T20 World Cup, but sometimes the most important attribute of a leader is to be selfless. I am healthy, fit, energised and motivated and certainly see myself playing an important role in the squad for as long as I continue putting in winning performances for the team,” Du Plessis said.
“South African cricket has entered a new era. New leadership, new faces, new challenges and new strategies. I remain committed to play in all three formats of the game for now as a player and will offer my knowledge and time to the new leaders of the team,” he added.
Under the captaincy of Du Plessis, the Proteas won several tournaments including South Africa’s 5-0 home ODI series and 2-1 away Test series victories against Australia in 2016.
He led the team in 112 international matches since December 2011 and has accumulated 5101 runs as a skipper in all formats that includes 11 centuries and 28 half-centuries.
Cricket Sout Africa’s acting CEO, Dr Jacques Faul thanked Du Plessis for his contribution to the country’s record in the sport.
“Faf’s record as player and captain speaks for itself. He has maintained the high standards he set for himself when he made a match-saving Test match century in Australia on debut in spite of the added responsibilities and pressures that come with leadership. He is the only South African captain to have won home and away series against Australia – one of the benchmark nations of the game – in both Test match and ODI cricket and he also won a one-off T20 International series in Australia,” he concluded.