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Du Plessis says grooming new leaders will be his “real purpose” over the next year

Du Plessis
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Faf du Plessis, who stepped down from the South Africa captaincy in February this year, said that he misses the responsibility, but said that his “real purpose” now is to groom the next generation of leaders in the South African set-up.

Du Plessis gave up the captaincy after a tough year for South Africa, underpinned by massive Test series defeats against India and England. Du Plessis’ own form took a hit as well, leading to Quinton de Kock being named ODI captain, while he filled in for the rested du Plessis in the T20Is against England.

That was followed by du Plessis stepping down as Test and T20I captain, letting de Kock assume charge in both the limited-overs formats, while a Test captain is yet to be named. Despite his own personal struggles with the bat, however, du Plessis chose to remains active as a player, and he now wants to impart his wisdom to the youngsters.

“Do I miss captaining? Of course I do,” du Plessis said. “I love captaincy. It’s a part of who I am. I’ve captained in all formats since the age of 13 and I’ve always looked at myself as a leader before a player. I enjoy that more than anything else, so I will always miss it.

“But I do think the time is right for me to move on to what will be a position of growing other leaders. This is something I have looked at as my real purpose in the next year for the Proteas – to really get stuck in and grow guys and share my experience [that] I have gained.”

Du Plessis also called the past season one of the toughest of his career, but he continues to believe that he has value to add to the set-up as a player, amidst talks of his future in the international game.

“The season gone by is probably one of the toughest of my career because it had a lot of elements to it that wasn’t just cricket,” du Plessis said. “The team didn’t do well again and then the pressure really started pointing towards me and a lot of energy was pushed towards me. I just felt at the time that I had been fighting the good fight for the Proteas and I gave it absolutely my everything. On reflection after the Test series, I went away and that was when I thought it was the right time [to step down].

“I felt that with a new coaching staff, they could start with someone new, but also that I have a lot of value to add to that. I thought the time is right now to fast track that process [of blooding a new captain], which is why I took the decision to step away.”

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