Star batsman AB de Villiers has stepped down as South Africa Test captain, making way for Faf du Plessis to take over the role on a permanent basis, after he was ruled out for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka as he is yet to fully recover from the elbow injury.
De Villiers has been out of action for six months after succumbing to the injury during the Caribbean Premier League and missed South Africa’s successful Test tour of Australia where stand-in skipper du Plessis led the side to a 2-1 win for their third straight Test series victory Down Under.
“The interests of the team must always outweigh the interests of any individual including me,” de Villiers was quoted as saying in a Cricket South Africa statement. “It was a fantastic honour for me to be asked to captain the Test side but I have missed two series.
“Following the squad's outstanding performances in Australia, it is clearly in the greater interests of the team that Faf du Plessis should be confirmed as permanent Test captain.
“I have known Faf for almost 20 years, ever since we played in the same school side at Afrikaans Hoer Seunskool, and he will have my unequivocal support,” the star batsman added.
De Villiers was made Test captain in February after Hashim Amla stepped down, and only led the side twice against England. He missed the New Zealand Test series before being declared injured for the Australia tour.
The 32-year-old de Villiers is hopeful of a comeback for the ODI series, scheduled to commence
“AB's left elbow is much improved but he is still regaining the last few degrees of straightening,” team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said. “Fitness to play requires a full range of elbow movement and this may take another three to four weeks to achieve. He will be unavailable for the Test series against Sri Lanka and will target a return for the ODI series.”