Johannesburg, Feb 17 : Senior batsman Faf du Plessis on Monday stepped down as captain of South Africa's Test and T20 teams, with immediate effect. The 35-year-old has cited a need to take a step back from captaincy, in order to help facilitate the emergence of the next generation of leaders within the team, under the new stewardship of Quinton de Kock. Du Plessis, who stepped aside from the ODI captaincy to make way for wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock during the recent series against England, said he took the decision to help South Africa start a new era.
"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," the veteran said in a statement here.
"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, " he mentioned. Du Plessis was rested from the three-match T20 series against England, which South Africa lost 1-2 on Sunday. ''The last few weeks of rest away from the game have given me a lot of perspective on the great privilege and honour I have had in representing and leading my country in the three formats of this wonderful game," du Plessis said.
"It has been a rewarding, sometimes tough and other times a lonely road, but I would not replace the experience for anything, because it has made me the man that I am proud to be today," he added. Du Plessis termed the decision as one of the toughest, but said that he will continue playing and contributing to the team as a batsman and a senior player and will also offer guidance and advice to the new leadership group, as part of their succession planning. "This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton, Mark (Boucher) and my teammates, as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group," said the right-hander. (UNI)