Town – Proteas captain Faf de Plessis
landed in Cape Town on Friday afternoon with his right arm in a sling as he
continues his recovery from the shoulder injury he picked up in the 3rd ODI
against Sri Lanka on Sunday.
Fortunately for the skipper, he
will not require surgery and he is looking at around six weeks on the
Du Plessis had guided the Proteas
to an unassailable 3-0 lead in their five-match ODI series after having gone
down 2-0 in the Tests, but when he was ruled out for the final two ODIs the South
African brains trust had to appoint a new leader.
The logical choices were Hashim
Amla and JP Duminy, who both have abundant captaincy experience.
Instead, the rather surprising
call was made to give the captaincy to Quinton
Proteas coach Ottis Gibson had
said in the build-up to the 4th ODI in Kandy on Wednesday that De Kock has an
exceptional cricketing mind, and Du Plessis helped explain the decision in more
detail at Cape Town International Airport on Friday.
“We felt that when Graeme
(Smith) left there was no real opportunities for young leaders in the team to
get one or two occasions where they could captain without being the full time
captain,” said Du Plessis.
“You can use that
opportunity to learn. There are two or three young guys in the team who have
some leadership capabilities.
“With guys like Quinton it’s
more about developing their personalities and character. Someone like Quinton
will grow a lot just by getting extra responsibility.
“It doesn’t mean that he
will be captain in the future or he won’t, we just see an opportunity for him
to grow as a player.”
Aiden Markram had captained in
five ODIs earlier in the year against India when Du Plessis was injured, but
his form in Sri Lanka has seen him lose his place in the side.
Du Plessis acknowledged that
leadership came “naturally” to Markram, while he also identified
speedster Kagiso Rabada as another young player who has leadership
The result on Wednesday did not
go De Kock’s way as the Proteas fell to a 3-run (D/L) defeat in a rain-affected
thriller, but Du Plessis is hopeful that the experience of captaining will
benefit De Kock in the long run.
“When I do eventually come
back hopefully he will be better off for it with a better understanding of what
it’s like to be a senior player in the team,” Du Plessis explained.
“As a player it’s easy to
just focus on your own game and when you are captain you don’t have that
luxury, so this will teach him a different side of cricket.”
The fifth and final ODI takes
place in Colombo on Sunday and starts at 11:00 (SA time).
Duminy, meanwhile, will captain
in the one-off T20I on Tuesday.