AB the man to take Proteas forward?

2016-01-07 08:40
AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - AB de Villiers says that captaining the Proteas Test side is a dream come true. 

De Villiers, already skipper of the South African ODI team, was on Wednesday given the Test captaincy for the final two Tests in the ongoing England series after Hashim Amla stepped down from the role. 


"I’ve said this before that it is an incredible honour to captain South Africa in any format. The captaincy has obviously come at short notice and is the realisation of a lifelong dream," was the line from De Villiers as the news broke. 

The appointment is just for this series, and with the Proteas only in Test action again when they host New Zealand in August, there is no rush to announce a long-term replacement for Amla. 

But if coach Russell Domingo's comments on Wednesday were anything to go by, then De Villiers is already emerging as the favourite to take over. 

"AB is a front-runner to do that, that’s the bottom line," said Domingo.

"That’s why he’s been asked to do it for these next couple of Tests. The board and the selectors will need to sit down with AB after this series is done and plan a way forward.

"I’m not the guy that makes the decision. It’s the selectors and the board who decide who must be captain."

The immediate concern that arises in considering De Villiers is his workload.

During the first Test in Durban reports surfaced that he was contemplating retirement from Test cricket in order to focus on the shorter formats.

Those rumours have since been squashed by both CSA and De Villiers, but what did emerge was an acknowledgement that he needs to be managed carefully, and that gaps in the international calendar will be identified that allow him to have a break from international cricket. 

Do those gaps include Test cricket? Surely not if he is named permanent captain.

"There is a lot being said about AB's back ... AB's back has been symptom free for the past three years," said Proteas team manager Dr. Mohammad Moosajee. 

"We are very much aware of AB's workload. We know that he's a guy who plays in all formats and he plays at a high intensity and a high tempo when he does play," added Domingo. 

"Once this T20 World Cup (World T20, March 2016) is done we need to reassess and identify which formats he can get a break in for a couple of months."

De Villiers will lead the Proteas in the third Test against England which gets underway in Johannesburg on January 14.


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