Sun, 05 Jul 2020

Cape Town - Proteas captain Faf du Plessis says he is still committed to leading the side in Test cricket in what he refers to as a "transition" period.

South Africa's first series under interim team director Enoch Nkwe ended with an innings and 202-run loss to India in Ranchi on Tuesday, meaning they go down 3-0 in the series.

It was South Africa's first Test cricket since they lost a home series against Sri Lanka 2-0 back in February, while their dismal showing at the 2019 World Cup resulted in Cricket South Africa parting ways with former coach Ottis Gibson.

The likes of Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla have since left the Test arena, while JP Duminy and Imran Tahir retired from ODI cricket after the World Cup.

Under new leadership and with a number of stalwarts no longer involved, the Proteas are looking to rebuild.

Du Plessis himself is 35 years old and while he has expressed his desire to captain the side to the T20 World Cup in Australia next October, he has not given any indication on what his ODI future looks like just yet.

Up next for the Proteas is a four-match home Test series against England that starts at Centurion on Boxing Day, and they will be under pressure to deliver a performance that restores the belief that this side is still very capable of competing with the best in the world.

Du Plessis, given what he said in Ranchi on Tuesday, is likely to remain at the helm for that series.

"It's a very young team and how I see my journey unfolding with this team is to help that transition period," he said.

"Graeme Smith was a successful captain for a very long time and then after him there were questions over who was going to captain the side.

"This period is to try and make that process a bit smoother by identifying the next leaders and captains and working with them.

"When that time is right, then it will be right, but right now it's just about that process."

The obvious captaincy candidates in the current Test set-up are vice-captain Temba Bavuma and opener Aiden Markram, but neither of those out-of-form players are commanding their places in the side currently.

Quinton de Kock is the other option.

"You look for personalities within the team who you see in three, four, five or six years to come and then the process starts," Du Plessis added.

"In a perfect world you would start the (rebuilding) process somewhere in the middle by changing one or two players and the period is shorter, but the position we find ourselves in now with a lot of experience out of the Test team, that process will probably take longer.

"Right now, it's about identifying the personalities who you believe will drive this team forward, based on character more than anything else.

"It's a rebuilding phase. The way forward when you're going through really tough times like this is to start identifying characters that will drive the team forward."

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