AB de Villiers has relinquished the South African Test captaincy in order to focus on getting back to full fitness, with Faf du Plessis named as his successor.
De Villiers took up the mantle following Hashim Amla’s resignation midway through the England series in January this year but the dynamic right-hander has led the Proteas in just two Tests.
With De Villiers, 32, set to miss his third Test series in a row when Sri Lanka visit South Africa, he believes Du Plessis should succeed him as full‑time captain and the Cricket South Africa chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, confirmed the appointment.
De Villiers said: “The interests of the team must always outweigh the interests of any individual, including me. It was a fantastic honour for me to be asked to captain the Test side but I have missed two series and I am still in doubt for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.
“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 the permanent Test captain.”
Lorgat said: “It is no surprise that the CSA Board has confirmed Faf du Plessis as the Test captain to take over from AB.”
De Villiers’ injury kept him out of the 1-0 win against the Kiwis while he was also absent for the surprise 2-1 win in Australia and is slated to miss the three-match series against Sri Lanka, which gets under way in Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day.
Dr Mohammed Moosajee, the Proteas team manager, said De Villiers, who remains captain of the one-day side, may be fit for the 50-over series between the teams.
“AB’s left elbow is much improved but is still regaining the last few degrees of straightening. 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 starting at the end of January.”