Faf du Plessis has returned to South Africa's squad for the upcoming Twenty20 International series with Australia on the day he stepped down as captain.

Du Plessis announced earlier on Monday that he has taken a step back, relinquishing his responsibilities as Test and T20 captain, with Quinton de Kock, who last month took over the ODI job, poised to take over across all formats.

The 35-year-old was rested for the recent 2-1 T20 series defeat to England, as were Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.

All three return to the fold in a 16-man group to face Australia in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town on February 21, 23 and 26.

Reeza Hendricks, Beuran Hendricks and Sisanda Magala drop out of the squad.

De Kock captains the side as he did in Du Plessis' absence against England, with the upcoming series key preparation for the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year.

Independent selector Linda Zondi specifically hailed Du Plessis' experience following his return after the batsman expressed his determination to continue as a player for the Proteas.

He said: "As a selection panel, we are happy with the team that we have finalised for the Australia tour.

"We are confident that the return of Kagiso and Anrich will provide the boost that the bowling unit needs in order to return to its dangerous ways.

"The experience of Faf will add an extra dimension to the batting unit's already fledgling prowess."

AB de Villiers is not involved in this squad, although coach Mark Boucher has confirmed the explosive batsman is likely to be selected for the World Cup as long as he is in form and makes himself available.

Temba Bavuma is picked for the squad, but his involvement is dependent on the results of a scan on a hamstring injury he sustained against England.

Following the T20 series, South Africa will also play three ODIs against Australia.
 

South Africa T20 squad: Quinton de Kock (captain), Temba Bavuma, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Pite van Biljon, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Jon-Jon Smuts, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Lungi Ngidi, Bjorn Fortuin, Anrich Nortje, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klaasen.

Faf du Plessis has stepped down as the Test and Twenty20 captain of South Africa.

The 35-year-old was replaced by Quinton de Kock as ODI captain in January and, with immediate effect, no longer leads the Proteas in any form of the game.

Du Plessis wants to continue contributing as a batsman and senior player and will advise the new leadership group as of the team's succession planning, Cricket South Africa said in a statement on Monday.

Quinton de Kock has no qualms with balancing multiple responsibilities as he prepares to lead South Africa in the one-day series with England.

De Kock has assumed the captaincy and will combine that with his usual duties as a wicketkeeper and batsman, the Proteas star insisting there is no risk of him being overloaded.

South Africa, who lost the Test series to England, face three ODIs against the 2019 Cricket World Cup winners, with the first taking place in Cape Town on Tuesday.

And De Kock will gladly continue to keep wicket in addition to his other roles.

"It [keeping wicket] is the one thing that helps me with my captaincy and my batting," he told the media. "It's key for me to hang on to the gloves for as long as I can.

"You guys think it sounds like a lot of work. I've been doing it for quite a while now, so it becomes second nature.

"Now, with the captaincy, it adds a bit more responsibility to me, which I enjoy. I think I am going to hang on with the keeping and the batting for a while."

The Proteas finished seventh in the pool phase at the World Cup last year, losing five of their nine matches in a miserable showing.

De Kock acknowledged there was significant room for improvement but the 27-year-old is looking to the future with optimism.

"We are in a rebuilding stage in the 50-over format," he said.

"We are looking forward to the next World Cup and we are at a stage where we are looking for youngsters to come through, and to give them the best opportunities we can, and hopefully help them grow as cricketers and be great prospects for us in future.

"We just want to win the series for now. There is a lot of time to give a lot of opportunities but for now, it's important for us as a team that we just get a series win.

"That's more important at the moment for the morale of the team. In the future, we will be giving more opportunities when we decide its best for the team."

Faf du Plessis spoke of his sadness South Africa could not give Vernon Philander a fairytale finish to his Test career after their side went down to a heavy defeat against England.

England sealed a 3-1 series win by wrapping up a 191-run victory with a day to spare in the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers.

The match was far from a dream send-off for Philander, who having struggled with a hamstring injury ended with just 14 runs and two wickets as the Proteas lost a third straight contest

"I'd like to thank Vern for his services to the Proteas over the years," Du Plessis said after Philander was given a standing ovation and a guard of honour from his team-mates having been dismissed for 10 by man of the match Mark Wood.

"This team will miss him so, so much. We will sit with him tonight in the dressing room and share in the memories. 

"Off the field he's been a champion guy and I'm sad this game wasn't the fairytale moment he deserves.

"It's a lot of effort and time away from family, the sacrifices you make for over 10 years. We're very thankful."

Du Plessis, who has hinted his own Test career may be nearing its end, acknowledged the Proteas had fallen short, particularly when it came close to their batting.

The skipper added: "Right through this series after that first game, England were better in every department than us. 

"We did play well in that first game, but one Test doesn't make a summer. We didn't put enough runs on the board, though Rassie van der Dussen played well here and was unlucky not to get a great hundred.

"Anrich Nortje came through shining for us, we need pace to take the place of the Steyns and Morkels, and he has come through - the skill to land the ball in the same area is what has impressed me the most.

"Beuran Hendricks came in with five in his first Test match but from a batting point of view we weren't at our best and the scores reflect that."

Philander was keen to credit England after his Test career came to a close.

"Obviously not the way I wanted to end," he said.

"All credit to Joe Root and his team. We all fight hard on the park but at the end of the day we remain gentlemen. 

"To my guys, thanks for making it such an honour for me to wear this badge in the last few years. It's been an honour and privilege to share a dressing room with so many greats.

"I think now the hard work starts, giving back to young talent is my mission in life, hopefully I can mentor a couple to play for this wonderful team one day."

Temba Bavuma will replace Zubayr Hamza in the South Africa side for the final Test against England at the Wanderers, which starts on Friday.

Bavuma has not played for the Proteas since a crushing defeat in the third Test against India in Ranchi last October.

The diminutive batsman was dropped from the squad after being omitted for the first Test against England, and he was challenged to go away and make first-class runs for the Lions.

Bavuma responded by making a career-best 180 against the Dolphins last week and will feature in Johannesburg at the expense of Hamza as South Africa strive to salvage a 2-2 series draw.

Rassie van der Dussen will move up the order to number three in the absence of Hamza, who has made only 39 across five innings since scoring 39 in the first innings of the first Test at Centurion.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis told reporters on Thursday: "I can tell you that Temba is back in the side.

"The rest, we are still waiting to see what the weather does tomorrow. We don't have 100 per cent clarity on that yet, but that is the one thing that is definite."

A player who will definitely not feature in the fourth Test is Kagiso Rabada. The paceman serves a one-match ban for the excessive celebration of Joe Root's wicket in the third Test that earned him a fourth demerit point.

Graeme Smith plans to have a "robust discussion" with Faf du Plessis on his future after the Test series against England.

Cricket South Africa on Tuesday announced Quinton de Kock had replaced Du Plessis as ODI captain ahead of the series against the world champions.

Du Plessis stated the fourth Test against England at the Wanderers, which starts on Friday, could be his last appearance in the longest format on home soil, revealing he may quit after facing West Indies in July and August.

The batsman had earlier outlined his desire to remain Proteas captain until the T20 World Cup in Australia in October, and Smith wants some clarity over Du Plessis' plans.

Interim South Africa director of cricket Smith said of the decision to appoint De Kock as ODI captain: "We see Faf playing a role as a player but from a leadership perspective, we felt the need to move on.

"Faf doesn't see himself being around in 2023. Leadership has been an issue of late in South African cricket and we have made the decision to give Quinny an opportunity.

"We feel tactically he is good, there are areas of his leadership that we all know we need to grow and develop but he is the right guy at this stage to take the one-day side forward."

The former Proteas skipper added: "With the World Cup around the corner, we need to go forward.

"At the moment Faf is in that position but I need to sit with him post this Test series. He has got a bit of time because he is being rested from the one-day series, so we will have some time to have a robust discussion on his future.

"He is the South African Test captain. The next Test match we play after this series will be in the Caribbean - there is an extensive amount of time. I need to understand how he sees his future in the game."

Quinton de Kock has been named as the new South Africa captain in ODIs ahead of the series against England, with Test skipper Faf du Plessis not named in the squad.

South Africa will play England in three matches over the space of six days from February 4 and will be led by wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock.

Du Plessis, under mounting pressure as the Proteas' Test leader, has recently discussed which international commitments he will keep after this year's T20 World Cup and he is not in the 15-man squad for the series.

Cricket South Africa, while not directly naming the previous ODI skipper, indicated in Tuesday's announcement that some senior members of the squad have been rested as they look to blood young players.

 

Faf du Plessis insists he still plans to continue as South Africa captain until at least the T20 World Cup but admits the fourth Test against England could be his last on home soil.

The Proteas trail England 2-1 with one match remaining in Johannesburg, having been thrashed by an innings and 53 runs at St George's Park on Monday.

It has been rumoured skipper Du Plessis could end his Test career after the four-match series, despite previously describing the limited-overs tournament in Australia later this year as "a crossroad in my career".

The 35-year-old said in his post-match presentation he had "heard the rumours of a possible retirement" but "nothing has changed".

However, speaking at a news conference, he recognised the Wanderers could see his final home appearance in the longest format, as he will not consider quitting mid-series.

"I have committed until the T20 World Cup," Du Plessis said. "There isn't a lot of Test cricket left this year.

"One massive Test where we need everyone to be as strong as possible. Afterwards, there is quite a big gap.

"I have said before, there is an opportunity to release some of the captaincy. Two Test matches in the West Indies [in July], and the rest of the year is white-ball stuff.

"Most probably, after that, Test cricket will be something that won't see me. That's a decision I will make then. For me now, it's to be as strong as possible."

Dismissing the idea of quitting before the fourth Test, he said: "I don't think that's what's leadership is about.

"I felt that the team has needed a leader to stand up and guide the ship through a difficult time. If you leave the team when they need you most, that's not my style.

"I have been under pressure a few times and I've played my best innings under pressure. I can't leave the team when they need me most.

"We are in a transition but I can't do it forever. It has been chipping away at your character. For now, that's what we need. I think it will make it worse if I say I'm out."

South Africa will be without suspended strike bowler Kagiso Rabada when they attempt to draw the series, but Du Plessis is also concerned by his batting unit.

The Proteas never threatened to push England in the third Test, their biggest partnership of the second innings by far a 10th-wicket stand of 99 between Keshav Maharaj (71) and Dane Paterson (39 not out).

"[Missing Rabada] is a big frustration, disappointment," Du Plessis said. "He's our best bowler, and it's not the first time that we've lost him in what will be a crucial game for us.

"We're already a little bit light on experience in our Test unit. He will be a huge loss - that's just the cards that we've been dealt. We've got to make the best of it. There's no using excuses for that.

"We have to regroup, have some firm chats over the next few days about where we need to get better, and make sure we move forward. We've shown signs of that.

"With the bowling, our controlling of the rate has been something we've been good at. Kesh [Maharaj] had a five-for, which showed this wicket was made for the spinners. There were a lot of wickets taken by the spinners.

"The same thing is happening with the batting unit - we're not putting on big totals. If you look at England, it's just one or two guys that put their hands up and score big hundreds.

"One big partnership gives you that momentum that you need, so we need to be better."

Mark Boucher warned South Africa must "man up" after they were "outskilled" by England on day four of the third Test at St George's Park.

England captain Joe Root took 4-31 in Port Elizabeth after Mark Wood struck twice to ensure England require just four wickets on the final day to take a 2-1 lead with one match to play.

The Proteas were all out for only 209 after losing their last four first-innings wickets for only one run early on the penultimate day and they were in deep trouble on 102-6 - trailing by 188 runs - following on at stumps.

South Africa head coach Boucher offered a frank assessment of his side's shortcomings following a painful rain-affected day, which left them surely relying on the weather to save them on Monday.

"I think we were outskilled, to be honest," he told Sky Sports. "You can blame different things for the situation but I've got to look at myself and find a way to get the players up mentally and upskill them in a short space of time.

"I do think Joe Root was difficult to play at the end there. It's difficult to get down to the pitch of the ball - one slides on, one turns and it's like quicksand, the harder you try the deeper you sink.

"But we've created this situation for ourselves. No excuses - we've got to man up now and take this forward and learn from these lessons.

"When you're under the pump for a long time, every side has its breaking point and today we broke quite early, which is disappointing."

Faf du Plessis went 54 balls without scoring at one point before he was sent packing by part-time spinner Root for 36, but Boucher insisted it is not time to discuss his future as captain.

"That's not a call to make a this moment in time," Boucher said. "He's trying really hard and working really hard away from the game. 

"If he's not scoring runs there's that extra pressure. The best way to answer that is putting runs on the board.

"There's no hiding place in Test cricket. He's disappointed from a team perspective. He spent a bit of time in the middle, which is good for his confidence."

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was gutted to lose to England at Newlands but acknowledged they had been part of a magnificent spectacle in the second Test.

A dramatic final day saw the Proteas come within half an hour of batting out the day to secure a draw, but instead, Ben Stokes took the final three wickets in quick succession as England levelled the four-match series at 1-1.

Du Plessis felt the contest was exactly why the ICC should not reduce Tests to four days as he reflected on a tough loss for his team.

"What an advertisement for Test cricket," he said. "Obviously I'm sad that we are on the losing side, but all I'm asking for from a team-mate is that we fought and fought really hard. 

"We did that over five days. Most teams would come when the chips are down and fall after lunch, so for me this was a huge step in the right direction, showing character and fight. We lost in the right way, we fought to the end, and I'm proud of that. 

"I am a fan of Test cricket going five days. The great draws of the game go five days. I understand there is a lot of money being burnt on day-five cricket because a lot of Test matches are not going five days. 

"But I am still a purist of the game because I have been part of some great draws and this is no different. There would definitely not have been a result in four days on this pitch.

"That's what makes it special, to have Stokes, shattered and still running in and we are trying to survive. That's what makes the extra day so special.

"Unfortunately, there has to be a winner and a loser, and credit for England for having just a little bit more in the tank than we had. [Quinton de Kock] was going really well and we felt he had it under control."

The third Test in Port Elizabeth will start on January 16.

Du Plessis added: "The next Test will be very exciting. Luckily there's a bit of a break after two tough matches in a row. 

"Regroup, train harder and make sure we improve – that's what we're trying to do as a young unit and I think that's what you see.

"Two months ago, we were very weak mentally. We exploded quickly. Sometimes you will improve by losing."

Asked where the game was lost for South Africa, Du Plessis felt their opening total of 223 had proven costly.

"First-innings runs," he said. "We got ourselves into a position where we should have got a little bit more. We are not where we need to be from a batting point of view.

"But what pleases me is that we've found someone at the top of the order in Pieter Malan. He knows his game and has stepped in and played one of the great innings. We've shown we've got another opener who can play Test cricket."

Faf du Plessis is approaching "a crossroad" in his career that could lead to him retiring from at least one format after the T20 World Cup. 

The South Africa captain will be 36 by the time of this year's tournament in Australia, which begins in October, and knows he may need to lighten the load.

Team-mate Vernon Philander, 34, is set to retire from international cricket after the ongoing four-Test series with England and that gave Du Plessis reason to reflect.

"I was the last one standing now with Vern [Vernon Philander] going from our generation," he said in a news conference.

"I said before that the T20 World Cup would be a crossroad in my career where I would see where I'm at.

"I think something will have to give from a format point of view. I don't know what this is yet.

"As a team probably if you look at the next year, Test cricket and T20 is probably our two main focus points. So possibly in the one-day game [we need to] start looking at guys who will get opportunities.

"I think it's important we do that more - get guys ready."

Du Plessis has played 62 Test matches, 143 ODIs and 44 T20 internationals ahead of the second five-day match with England, which starts on Friday.

Pieter Malan will make his South Africa debut in the second Test against England, while Temba Bavuma has been dropped from the squad and challenged to score a "weight of runs" to earn a recall.

Malan will open the batting with Dean Elgar at Newlands after Aiden Markram was ruled out of the rest of the four-match series with a broken finger.

That is the only change to a Proteas side that won the first Test at Centurion, where Bavuma missed out on a 40th appearance in the longest format.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis says his fellow batsman must pile on the runs to have any chance of forcing his way back into the team, with Rassie van der Dussen keeping his place.

Du Plessis said: "Temba is on board. Something we are trying to achieve as a batting unit is to raise our standards a little bit higher, push our performances from a runs point of view. He is on board with the process to try and get guys to score big runs.

"If you're not finding yourself starting now, it's about weight of runs. Temba was injured before the start of the series but it was a talking point even before the series - whose positions do we need to make sure there is more competition for?

"It's about finding guys that are knocking on the door all the time to push us to a level where we can take this batting line-up to win games of cricket consistently.

"Temba will be the first to say that his performance over the last while wasn't where it needed to be. Weight of runs would be the way back into the team, like it would for anyone."

Du Plessis says Van der Dussen earned another opportunity after making a half-century on his debut in the first Test.

"We feel it's the right thing to do to stick with Rassie," the skipper added ahead of the second Test, which starts on Friday.

"As a player, you feel like you get a bit confidence when you get an extended run - runs or no runs. Luckily he scored some runs in the first Test.

"A big part of international cricket is the mental aspect of belonging. Rassie has got a real composure to him and a presence when he bats. He ticks all the right boxes."

South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis is hopeful his side's 107-run victory over England in the first Test at Centurion heralds the start of a brighter period for the Proteas.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) was blighted by a series of off-field issues, including the suspension of CEO Thabang Moroe, disputes with the South African Cricketers' Association and the loss of a major sponsor, prior to their series with England getting under way.

However, following the appointments of Graeme Smith as interim director of cricket and Mark Boucher as head coach, Du Plessis' men began a new era in encouraging fashion by winning the opening Test on Sunday, bowling England out for 268 after the tourists had been set an unlikely target of 376 for victory.

"We needed that," said Du Plessis at the post-match presentation. "Obviously the last couple of months, as a Test team, have been tough for us, but we worked really hard this week.

"I thought it was a very, very good Test match, two teams fighting really hard all the way, and today's effort was incredible.

"We haven't won a Test match in a while. It's the start of a new chapter. We want to make sure we're improving as a Test team again. We want to go up to better things again and this is just the start.

"We know it's going to be a long journey to get there, but we'll make sure we keep working hard and putting in the right things."

Du Plessis was particularly delighted by the efforts of a bowling department that is set to be weakened when Vernon Philander retires from international cricket after this series to take up a Kolpak deal in English county cricket.

Anrich Nortje shone in his first home Test, while Kagiso Rabada claimed seven wickets in the match as the ever-impressive Philander received able support.

"I thought Anrich Nortje was really good," said Du Plessis. "Obviously we expect that from KG [Rabada], he's a world-class performer for us, but Anrich, in his first Test at home, he's probably not someone that you would think has a lot of control. We know he has got a lot of pace, but I thought he bowled with great control, executed the right lengths to different batters and bowled with some really good pace as well.

"So [there are] real good signs for the Test team moving forward. Obviously, we've lost quite a few bowlers and with Vern deciding that he wants to go and move on to greener pastures, we need new bowlers to step up to the platform now.

"We've had Morne [Morkel] and Dale [Steyn] and other guys like that, KG, step up when there was old bowlers bowling at the time and now we're gonna need one or two more to come to the fore."

Faf du Plessis says there is no room for egos in a new South Africa leadership group as they prepare for the Test series against England.

Mark Boucher was appointed head coach last weekend and has wasted no time in assembling his staff.

Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt and Justin Ontong will assist the former Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman along with Enoch Nkwe.

Graeme Smith took charge as interim team director before bringing in Boucher, with Du Plessis remaining captain amid wholesale changes. 

The South Africa skipper believes he can have a good relationship with Boucher in a new era.

"It's important that you don't have guys with egos. That's the most important thing when it comes to leadership groups, especially if there's a few names thrown into the mix," said the batsman.

"For someone like Mark Boucher who has been coaching for the last three or four years with the Titans, seeing what it is like on the other side, because coaching and playing are two different roles, and you can see his development from a personality point of view.

"He also understands that it's give-and-take. He will come in sometimes and I'll pull away and vice versa and I think that only comes when you are mature enough to understand what a leadership group looks like and are secure in your own position.

"If you are insecure, then you are going to feel like you need to talk all the time because there is another big voice in the team but I don't feel like that at all."

Faf du Plessis says AB de Villiers has already held discussions over a potential South Africa comeback.

De Villiers retired from international cricket in May 2018, stating he had "run out of gas".

New Proteas head coach Mark Boucher said it would be remiss of him not to try to tempt one of South Africa's greatest batsman to have a change of heart, with the T20 World Cup on the horizon next year.

South Africa captain Du Plessis revealed talks with the 35-year-old started a few months ago.

"People want AB to play and I am no different," said Du Plessis, speaking to reporters after playing for Paarl Rocks against Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League final.

"Those conversations have been happening for two or three months already: What does it look like? How does it look over the next year? And that's where it starts.

"T20 cricket is a different beast, it's not a lot of time away from home. If you are a full campaigner, you have to really get stuck in and spend a lot of time on the road.

"Test cricket now is the most important thing but also the T20 World Cup is not too far away and there isn't a lot - I reckon 20 T20s over the season - which won't be that hard on one to do that.

"Those conversations have already taken place and will continue to before the next T20 series starts."

De Villiers is set to make his Big Bash League debut for Brisbane Heat next month.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.