With their next Test series in Sri Lanka in July, Cricket South Africa (CSA) say they are in no rush to find a replacement captain for Graeme Smith, who retired from the sport at the conclusion of the third Test against Australia on Wednesday.
Two candidates who appear to have the strongest claims — A.B. de Villiers and Faf du Plessis — are both already captains of the national side in the shorter formats of the game.
CSA chief executive officer Haroon Lorgat says South Africa’s focus will first shift to this month’s Twenty20 World Cup in Bangladesh, which gives the selectors some breathing space before the need to appoint a Test captain.
“The next Test series is in Sri Lanka in July. So there’s a bit of time and something the selectors will have to deal with. I don’t want to pre-empt anything at this stage,” Lorgat told reporters.
Lorgat was involved with the appointment of a 22-year-old Smith as captain in 2003 and says it will be up to the CSA board to approve the man put forward by the selectors.
“My recollection of the process is that the board confirms the appointment of the captain. I would support that approach. It’s a big appointment, it’s the leader,” Lorgat said. “I’m sure the selectors will look across the entire team and choose, or recommend, whom they believe to be the best leader.”
De Villiers would seem the obvious choice — he is experienced, the vice-captain of the Test side and has been the leader in one-day internationals since 2011.
Du Plessis is the Twenty20 captain and is held in high regard among the coaching staff for his leadership skills.
South Africa have only had four regular Test captains since readmission to international cricket in 1991 — Kepler Wessels, Hansie Cronje, Shaun Pollock and Smith.