Town - As the Proteas turn
their attention to a three-match ODI series against England, starting at
Newlands on Tuesday, uncertainty remains over the future of Test captain Faf du Plessis.
READ: The complexities surrounding Faf du
Plessis' Proteas captaincy
There is, of course, no need for
panic with a two-Test tour to the West Indies in July South Africa's next
participation in the format.
Director of Cricket Graeme Smith
has spoken of the need to discuss Du Plessis' future with him, and there could
be an opportunity to do that in the coming days and weeks with Du Plessis not
included in the ODI squad.
Instead, Quinton de Kock will
lead the charges on that front, with Du Plessis expected to return for the T20 series
starting in East London on February 12.
One of the major concerns on the
Test stage is that there is no obvious captaincy replacement for Du Plessis for
whenever he does decide to step away.
There are options, but none stand
Here, we take a quick look
at FIVE players
who would come into that conversation if the Proteas had to field a new Test
captain in the Caribbean.
The national vice-captain for
October's tour to India, Bavuma was dropped during the England series. He
forced his way back into the side for the fourth Test at the Wanderers, but he
is still some way off commanding a regular place in the Test side. Assistant
coach Enoch Nkwe believes that Bavuma has all the right ingredients to replace
Du Plessis when the time is right, but he surely needs to find form with the
bat first. With 40 Test caps under the belt and still just 29, Bavuma should be
poised to lead. That Test average of 30.75, though, sticks out.
Now the full-time ODI captain, De
Kock remains South Africa's most valuable asset in all three formats. Often
criticised for his seemingly carefree approach to most things, including press
responsibilities, De Kock's real genius lies on the field. Anyone who has
played with him will tell you how tactically astute he is, while he leads by
example through his performances alone. Few doubt De Kock's captaincy ability
to lead in limited overs cricket - he has already led in two ODIs and two T20s
- but the demands of Test cricket would add a whole lot more onto the plate of
a man who, many times, has single-handedly kept the Proteas afloat.
Elgar has captained the Proteas
twice - once at Lord's in 2017 and then against Pakistan at the Wanderers in
2019. He is a big character in the South African dressing room and he embodies
exactly the fighting spirit that new coach Mark Boucher is looking to instil.
The problem, though, is that Elgar will be 33 by the time West Indies tour
comes around so he is not a long-term solution. With his experience and proven
ability to tough it out, Elgar still has a massive role to play in South
Africa's Test side, but it is unlikely to come as captain.
This should be the perfect time
for Markram to step into leadership but, like Bavuma, he has not done himself
any favours with the bat. The captain of the triumphant SA U-19 side of 2014
has long been tipped as a future Proteas skipper, but 2019 was a woeful year
for Markram. He is currently sidelined with injury and, with Pieter Malan
having been given a chance against England, there are no guarantees that
Markram will walk back into the starting line-up. Still just 25, Markram does
have time on his side and will be an attractive option at this time of
The 30-year-old has burst onto
the international stage and emerged from his maiden Test series with three
half-centuries from eight innings. His input on the field at team huddles and
in chatting to Du Plessis and the bowlers was noticeable. Du Plessis has often
said that Van der Dussen is a player with natural leadership ability. He is a
mature player with a strong cricketing brain while he has also shown an ability
to stay composed during incredibly difficult situations. Those are qualities
one looks for in a leader, and Van der Dussen might find himself in the
conversation when the time comes to appoint as new skipper.