Opinion: Du Plessis unequivocally the right call for all formats

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

Jonhenry Wilson discusses the permanent installment of Faf du Plessis as South Africa's captian across all three formats. 

As predictable as it might have been, Faf du Plessis' appointment as South Africa's ODI captain came as a great relief to many who were concerned that AB de Villiers' successor might have flown in from leftfield.

A South African public previously subjected to David Miller and Farhaan Behardien's Test match ambitions - and a T20I XI captained by JP Duminy, Justin Ontong and Behardien - wouldn't have found it too farfetched to expect an ODI captain other than du Plessis. Duminy has, for reasons vast and varied, been shoehorned into the limited-overs and Test teams, and would have been in contention to succeed de Villiers.

Instead, thankfully, the Cape Town Knight Riders captaincy in the T20 Global League will have to suffice for the veteran left-hander. Du Plessis, meanwhile, is afforded the chance to genuinely step out of de Villiers' shadow - and take charge, in every sense of the term, across all formats.

The Proteas haven't had one captain across T20I, ODI and Test match cricket since Graeme Smith, about seven years ago. That, in itself, is a promising omen of sorts for du Plessis, who is far more likely to become as great a leader as Smith. De Villiers was never going to achieve that.

Du Plessis, of course, will need to quickly establish a relationship with Ottis Gibson, starting with September and October's series against Bangladesh. De Villiers, despite his imminent return, won't be around for that - and perhaps it's just as well, too. Du Plessis will be able to fashion a rapport with Gibson, uninfluenced - for better or worse - by his predecessor's presence.

This is not to say that du Plessis shouldn't draw on the experience and insight of de Villiers in the future, but the outset - in this instance - is best built on the new captain's ideals, rather than the precepts of his forerunner.

How well or poorly de Villiers negotiates returning to the rank and file, without the status of captain, is of particular intrigue. A cricketer who has wanted to be the complete package - including the captaincy - from the very beginning, ultimately didn't manage that for the duration of his career. That's not necessarily the argument here, though.

Whether or not he is genuinely "refreshed and revived", eager to "prepare properly" and no longer "mentally and physically tired" - all of which he waxed lyrical in his ODI captaincy resignation speech - is. The Proteas need him to be able to walk the talk, perhaps now more than ever.

In closing, I'm not comfortable with Russell Domingo being named South Africa A's coach. It's similar to Paul Adams' effective demotion at the Cape Cobras, where he went from head coach to Western Province Academy and Under-19 coach. In business terms, both reek of lateral movement designed to appease those who should have been ousted entirely.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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