A new era is dawning for South African cricket with the appointment of new leadership for the Proteas. Cricket South Africa (CSA) will be hoping that these leadership appointments will start the much-needed rejuvenation of the Proteas in international cricket.
The Proteas now have two captains for the three formats, with Dean Elgar captain of the Test team and Temba Bavuma captain of the ODI and T20 teams. It has been a good decision to remove Quinton de Kock as captain of the Proteas in all formats. He is too valuable to South Africa as a player and he is not a natural leader. Also, history shows that the workload of a wicketkeeper/ batsman as captain does not work; Alec Stewart is a good example of this.
Elgar does not have much experience as captain because he has not been a regular franchise captain in his career. His only experience was when he captained South Africa at Lord’s in 2016 in Faf du Plessis’s absence; the Proteas were easily beaten by England. The one positive in his favour is that he is a permanent member of the Test team and has played in 67 Tests.
Bavuma does not have that luxury and has only played in 6 ODI’s and 8 T20 internationals. In 2019 he was appointed captain of the Jozi Stars in the Mzansi Super League; they ended up bottom after being the champions in 2018. However, he did lead the Lions to victory in the recent Betway T20 Challenge in Durban. Even though he has been under pressure most of his international career to retain his position in the Protea teams, he has shown a strong mind, maturity and leadership abilities.
Since the days of Graeme Smith not many Proteas have shown natural leadership abilities like in years gone by. South Africa’s great captains like Peter van der Merwe, Ali Bacher and Hansie Cronje had the advantage of captaining their provincial teams and gaining experience in the art of captaincy. This grew them as leaders and earmarked them to captain their country. This privilege no longer exists today, and international captains are appointed without this growth route. Smith himself is an example of this as he never captained Western Province in his playing career.
Congratulations to the two captains appointed and good luck to them in their captaincy careers. They could not be taking over the captaincy roles in a more crucial period in South African cricket, especially Bavuma who will be leading the Proteas in two T20 World Cup tournaments (India and Australia) and the 2023 Cricket World Cup to be played in India.