Three weeks after Linda Zondi, convener of selectors of Cricket South Africa, put his weight behind AB de Villiers being the first-choice captain, Dale Steyn too has echoed the same about his fellow teammate.Steyn, who was there at an exhibition match between South Africa’s cricket and rugby teams at Newlands, said, “I think so, he (de Villiers) is the captain.He is definitely the captain. I know Faf has done really well for us right now, but AB is the captain.
“He has earned that spot. He has played for a long time, and he said he wants to do it and he got the opportunity to. Unfortunately, he got injured, but he is the man at the end of the day.
“When AB steps back into the side, there should be almost no question about it. I know there have been eyebrows raised because Faf has done well, but there should never be any question about who the real captain is or who the captain is, and he should just step back into it and continue what Faf has already started,” said the 33-year-old pacer.
Meanwhile, Graeme Smith, former South Africa Test captain, emphasised on the importance of de Villiers recovering completely and getting back to play first.
“Having had an elbow injury, it’s not an easy thing to recover from. It takes time, getting those tendons strong and all those muscles. That’s your primary arm that you use when you bat. He should focus on that. The sooner we can get him playing cricket for South Africa, the better,” said Smith, who captained South Africa at a young age of 22 years and 82 days, against Bangladesh in 2003.
The 35-year-old former opening batsman also spoke about how it had become increasingly tough to lead the side across all formats of the game. “It’s very difficult to captain all three formats, and the T20 format is a difficult one because you don’t play a huge amount of cricket. So is that the right time to rest your captain, with the workloads he is going to have in one-day and Test cricket?” asked Smith.
De Villiers had voiced his concern about the rising workload that comes along with playing so much cricket, and had also dropped hints last year, about how that could push him into an early retirement. Smith also underlined the importance of keeping the captain fresh.
De Villiers has been out with an elbow injury, having last played a One-Day International against the West Indies in June this year. While he didn’t feature in the Test series against New Zealand and Australia, he is expected to be fit in time for the Port Elizabeth Test, although he has had only one net session thus far. While de Villiers has been away, du Plessis has successfully led the side to series wins against New Zealand at home and away in Australia.