Emerging players key to AB De Villiers’ decision to continue as Proteas’ Test captain

LEAD MAN: South Africa's AB De Villiers.
LEAD MAN: South Africa's AB De Villiers.
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AB de Villiers has agreed to become South Africa Test captain on a permanent basis.

De Villiers, who will also lead his country in the five-match one-day international series against England, was in charge for the last two Tests of the series lost 2-1 to the same tourists.

After taking over the Test captaincy from Hashim Amla as a short-term measure, however, he appeared equivocal about the role – and his subsequent form, including a pair in the final match at Centurion last week, was below his established standards as one of the world’s finest batsman.

It was nonetheless announced, following a Cricket South Africa board meeting, that the 31-year-old will lead the Test team for the foreseeable future.

De Villiers said: “This is an exciting time for South African cricket, and I am honoured to have been asked to captain the Test team into a new era.

“I thoroughly enjoyed captaining in the last two Tests against England – and although I still have a lot to learn in this role, it’s a new challenge that I’m excited to take on.”

He is optimistic about the potential of a team which appears in transition but contains several promising players.

“I have been privileged to play in several outstanding Proteas teams over the past 11 seasons, and I believe we are witnessing the emergence of another great team,” he added.

“There is plenty of hard work ahead of us; we are rebuilding and have a long way to go to being a finished product as a squad.

“We may have to fight through some tough times. But the recent performances of Kagiso Rabada, Temba Bavuma, Dane Piedt, Dean Elgar and others have created an opportunity to build a team that delights and unites our country as never before.

“I could not be more excited about the future. I am fully committed to the Proteas and I am grateful for the support from my team-mates, Cricket South Africa and the people of our rainbow nation.”