Faf du Plessis stepped down as captain of South Africa's Test and T20 teams with immediate effect. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Faf du Plessis' international future was already under speculation after he stepped aside from the ODI captaincy to make way for wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock during the recent series against England. In the recently concluded three-match Twenty20 International series in which South Africa lost 1-2 to England, Faf du Plessis was rested for the series. On Monday, du Plessis stepped down as captain of South Africa's Test and T20 teams with immediate effect, citing "the need to facilitate the emergence of next generation of leaders". This step comes just before the ODI and Twenty20 International series against Australia which begins from next week and this could mean that Quinton de Kock could be the skipper across all formats.
"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. When I took over the leadership, I did so with the commitment to lead, perform and most importantly, to serve. 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," Faf du Plessis said.
Du Plessis took over as South Africa captain for all three formats in August 2017 after AB de Villiers stepped down. He led South Africa to a dismal 2019 ODI World Cup campaign, where the team crashed out in the group stages. Du Plessis, however, is expected to retain his place in the squad for the three T20s against Australia after indicating that he remains open for selection in all formats of the game. "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 said.
Faf du Plessis has stepped down as captain ahead of the series against Australia which involves three ODIs and T20Is. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Speaking further on his decision, du Plessis said the last season of his captaincy career has turned out to be challenging. "After the 2019 ICC World Cup, I made the decision to continue in my role as captain while the team went through a rebuilding phase following the retirement of some key senior players and a complete overhaul of the coaching staff that we had worked with until then. It was important to me that I stayed to help the team find its feet and plot a new way forward while assisting in identifying the next generation of leaders within the players' group during a time of turbulence in SA cricket. The last season of my captaincy has been the most challenging to date as I had a lot of off-field issues that I devoted my energy towards," he added.
Eoin Morgan hit 57 not out off just 22 balls to lead England to a Twenty20 series victory over South Africa by chasing down a challenging target of 223 in the third and final match on Sunday. Morgan dealt exclusively in sixes for his boundaries, clubbing seven of them as England came from behind in the decisive match and the series to finish on 226-5 with five balls to spare for a five-wicket win. South Africa made 222-6 at SuperSport Park after choosing to bat first. Moeen Ali hit the four down the ground to seal the 2-1 series win for England but there was no doubt that Morgan won it for his team.