Opinion: On AB as captain and Steyn's absence

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

It is what it is now, but one has to question South Africa's decision to give AB de Villiers the captaincy in the absence of Faf du Plessis for the ongoing one-off Test against Zimbabwe.

De Villiers' return to the Test middle order, of course, is entirely welcome - and long overdue. But Dean Elgar, who did a decent job as stand-in against England at Lord's earlier this year, would have been a better choice as skipper.

Elevating Aiden Markram to the temporary captaincy, as a genuine test for the future and precursor for three or four years' time, wouldn't have been a bad bet either. After all, a relatively early appointment turned out well enough for Graeme Smith.

As it stands, after Quinton de Kock sustained a hamstring injury on day one at St George's Park, de Villiers must now play wicketkeeper - probably for the duration of the match - as well.

De Villiers gradually got rid of the wicketkeeping role, eventually the Test captaincy and ultimately the ODI leadership, but has suddenly found himself back with two of the three.

Thankfully, all of this is in place only for the Port Elizabeth match and parity will be restored for India's arrival, when Faf du Plessis returns and de Kock has recovered.

Dale Steyn's omission from the St George's Park clash is understandable. It would have been great watching him steam in with a pink ball, under lights, but he has to be protected for the India series.

Steyn is not the type of cricketer to run in at, say, 70 or 80 percent. He will want to bowl at 100 percent when the time is right. That time is not now. It will come in the new year, at Newlands in Cape Town.

In the meantime, Andile Phehlukwayo gets another chance to show his worth as a Test cricketer. He wouldn't have played had Steyn been selected - and is fortunate to crack the nod ahead of Chris Morris, too.

If or when Steyn gets injured again, Phehlukwayo can't be the guy the Proteas turn to. It's just not feasible. Duanne Olivier's presence is far more justifiable. Granted, Kyle Abbott, Marchant de Lange and Hardus Viljoen's Kolpak exits haven't helped matters, but - in relatively insignificant fixtures like the one on the go in Port Elizabeth - South Africa need to be looking at life after Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

England have hardly planned for the eventuality of James Anderson and Stuart Broad individually and collectively under-performing - and look where that's got them.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.