Faf Du Plessis does an MS Dhoni-Esque ‘walks out at his own terms’

Faf Du Plessis has announced that he is stepping down from his role as captain of the Proteas’ Test and T20 teams effective immediately. 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.

“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.”

Faf Du Plessis

The Proteas will on Tuesday name their T20 squad to face Australia, with du Plessis and Kagiso Rabada expected to return having missed the recent series against England, and AB de Villiers also a chance to make a sensational comeback ahead of this year’s World Cup.

“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. (Captaincy) 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.”

Faf Du Plessis would like to concentrate on contributing to the team as a batsman and senior player who will offer guidance and advice to the new leadership group as part of their succession planning.

“When I took over the leadership, I did so with the commitment to lead, perform & 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 SA cricket to relinquish the captaincy.

“This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton, Mark and my teammates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group.” – Faf du Plessis

The news of Faf du Plessis’ exit came just as the Australians commenced their first training session at the Wanderers in Johannesburg ahead of the first of three T20s against the Proteas.

“The last season of my captaincy has been the most challenging to date as I had a lot of off-field issues that I devoted my energy towards.” – Du Plessis

“I have strived to lead the team with dignity and authenticity during exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I have given my everything during my tenure.” – Du Plessis

“South African cricket has entered a new era. New leadership, new faces, new challenges and new strategies.  I remain committed to play in all three formats of the game for now as a player and will offer my knowledge and time to the new leaders of the team.”

Du Plessis said

Du Plessis led South Africa in 112 internationals and had 69 wins under him. He has led the side with a huge amount of dignity and will surely be missed.

Cricket South Africa’s acting CEO, Dr Jacques Faul, said du Plessis’ departure as skipper continues the rapid transition of the side in recent years.

“(Du Plessis) and Dale Steyn are the last survivors of the golden generation that took the Proteas to the top of the Test rankings and he still has a vital role to play as we bridge the gap between one generation and the next. I am sure he will continue to add much value to the Proteas both on the field and in the dressing room in the final chapter of his outstanding career.”

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