This past week has seen Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat conduct interviews with the candidates for the currently vacant Proteas Test captaincy.
The men in line for the job – AB de Villiers (favourite), Faf du Plessis (bold choice), Hashim Amla (safe hands) and JP Duminy (outsider).
De Villiers is the favourite for a couple of reasons – he’s arguably South Africa’s best player and a selection certainty; he has heaps of international experience, having been part of the Proteas set-up since 2004; he’s popular with his fellow players and commands plenty of respect; and he’s appeared the natural successor to Graeme Smith, having been handed the limited overs captaincy back in 2011.
Du Plessis I refer to as a ‘bold choice’, because it would be very progressive of CSA – and arguably a bit more risky – were they to place their faith in a guy who looks a natural captain, but who only has about 18 months of Test cricket experience under his belt, and who appears yet to completely nail down his spot in the team. Du Plessis currently bats four in the Test team, a position previously occupied by Jacques Kallis, and unfortunately, until he makes a series of good scores in that position, his spot in the team will be in question.
That’s despite the fact that he appears to have the sort of character you want in a man leading a national team into sporting battle, as exhibited by his stunning centuries against Australia at the end of 2012 and India a year later. Both innings were produced under the most intense Test match pressure, with South Africa facing defeat in both, but coming up with creditable draws thanks to the efforts of Du Plessis.
On top of all of that, Du Plessis appears at ease with the burden of captaincy and all that goes with it, as he’s shown as leader of a Proteas T20 side that has made great strides over the past 18 months.
Amla is a safe pair of hands, because of what CSA knows it will get from him. His place in the team is not in question and what he’ll bring to the captaincy will be an extension of the qualities he brings to his batting – calm, stability and thoughtfulness, never mind his great experience. I’m just not convinced he can be as dynamic as CSA want him to be, if the Proteas are going to play an exciting and progressive ‘brand’ of cricket going forward.
Whilst Duminy appears on his way to fulfilling his early promise and cementing a place in the Test side, I’m not entirely sure why his name is being bandied about as a captaincy candidate. Sure, he’s developed into the Proteas’ number one Test all-rounder, thanks to his top-seven batting position and the progress he has made with the ball. But, until that hundred against Australia in Port Elizabeth just a few months ago, his form and position in the team were in question. Yes, he appears likely to be a permanent fixture for years to come, but the Test captaincy now may just be too soon for him. Why not let Duminy continue his development and focus on being the rock of South Africa’s middle order?
With all of that in mind, which way do CSA go? De Villiers appears the obvious choice, although his stint as ODI skipper has been far from convincing, and there could be an argument for South Africa wanting their best batter to focus on scoring big runs for his country. Throw in the fact that De Villiers keeping wicket gives the Proteas greater balance and options, and suddenly it’s not such an obvious choice.
If that were the case, then it would be a straight shootout between Du Plessis and Amla. The latter would command respect and offer a calm and considered approach to the job, whilst the former definitely wants the captaincy and is likely to offer a bolder and arguably more dynamic approach.
Would you be a selector?
Article source: http://www.enca.com/opinion/tough-decision-csa