Faf du Plessis handed ODI captaincy

19
Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis (right) takes over after AB de Villiers's six-year run as ODI captain. © Getty

Faf du Plessis has been confirmed as South Africa’s new one-day international captain, making him the country’s leader in all three formats.

Du Plessis’ appointment had been expected since AB de Villiers stepped down from the position last month, endorsing his teammate in the process. The appointment was announced on Monday (September 11) after Cricket South Africa’s Board of Directors rubber-stamped the recommendation of the national selection panel.

“Congratulations to Faf on his appointment as the natural successor to the ODI leadership,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said in a statement. “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.”

Du Plessis arrived in Pakistan on Monday and will lead the World XI out in the first T20 of the Independence Cup in Lahore on Tuesday evening. His first ODI in charge of South Africa will be against Bangladesh next month.

Calls for du Plessis to take over the one-day leadership grew during the Champions Trophy in June, when de Villiers’ captaincy increasingly came under the radar. Under de Villiers, South Africa tried and failed to break their duck at big tournaments on three occasions – two Champions Trophies and one World Cup.

In the six years of de Villiers’ captaincy, they won only 59 of their 103 matches, making him one of the least successful South African ODI captains since readmission.

Du Plessis has already led South Africa in nine ODIs – all of them when de Villiers was injured. While he won one game and lost another against New Zealand in 2013, he has subsequently won every game in which he captained South Africa in the format – a run that included a 5-0 whitewash of Australia last October.

With less than two years until the 2019 World Cup in England, the focus of both du Plessis and new coach Ottis Gibson will increasingly turn to the tournament. “You look at South Africa and the players that they can potentially put on the field, and there’s no reason why they can’t win the 50-over World Cup in 2019,” Gibson said last week.

With a more impressive captain at the helm, that feeling is likely to grow again as the pain of June’s Champions Trophy failure starts to recede.