The great captain debate

2014-03-09 10:00

Khanyiso Tshwaku

Why AB is the one to steer the ship

Australia’s way of selecting a captain goes by the method of picking the team then finding the strongest leader among them.

That leader, though, has to be able to sustain his position by way of performance.

If that is used to pick the South African test captain, then AB de Villiers fits the bill perfectly.

He is the best batsman in the team (and the world), and in terms of international leadership and performances, he does pick himself as the captain.

Hashim Amla is a good batsman and an excellent senior player, but his one stint at provincial captaincy did not go too well.

In fact, when he relinquished the leadership of the Dolphins in 2005, he responded with 249 in his next match. He is a reluctant leader.

De Villiers has 92 consecutive test matches under his belt and has been in earshot of Graeme Smith over the last 24 months as wicketkeeper.

He would have learnt some nuances of test match captaincy, especially in the second innings of the Newlands test when Smith spent some time off the field.

While he has been shown to be tactically naïve at the ODI level, he has also shown some massive improvement as his reign has extended.

Being the most experienced in the team, it is logical for him to take over, even though Sri Lanka will test him as they would any other novice international captain.

He will have to drop the gloves as keeping wicket, batting and captaining are near impossible.

With the way the team is currently structured, Quinton de Kock will be the next wicketkeeper.

De Villiers is the best candidate for the test team and don’t be surprised if the board ratifies that decision from the selectors.

Ricky Hunt

Hash is the obvious choice

Almost as soon as we breathed a sigh of relief this week at the announcement of Graeme Smith’s ­departure from the Proteas squad, questions were ­being asked about who might take over the reins as captain.

Three contenders emerged through the din.

Would it be AB de Villiers, the number one-ranked test batsman, dependable wicketkeeper and all-round nice guy? How about Faf du Plessis, the stoic middle-order man with a keen eye for the draw? Or would Hashim Amla, ever the cool customer, raise his hand to lead the squad the next time they don their whites?

Here’s why I think Hash is the obvious choice.

As impressive as AB is when he comes to the crease, he will forever in my mind be an aspiring Afrikaans music chart-topper.

With shmaltzy hit singles like Maak Jou Drome Waar and Show Them Who You Are, as well as cringy YouTube clips of him belting out Summer of ’69 without even a hint of irony, AB wears his earnestness on his sleeve.

Why hate him just because he can sing good?

He bats like a legend and that’s what counts.

But cricket has managed to keep vanity out of the game more successfully than soccer or rugby, and I’d prefer not to have a captain who’s keeping the back door open for a post-cricket career as the next Steve Hofmeyr.

Faf hasn’t been around quite long enough to have gained my trust.

Sure, he’s the T20 captain, but that’s the McMeal equivalent to the test buffet.

We’ve seen a few solid innings from him, most ­notably when he burst on to the scene in 2012 with a series-winning innings to draw the final match against the Aussies. He’s shown he has the resilience not to lose.

He’s fast becoming a specialist drawer. But we need a winner.

That leaves Amla. He’s even-tempered and diffident, solid when he settles at the crease and graceful in postmatch interviews.

He’ll make a welcome change as captain from the boys’ club of which Smith was so emblematic.

And (perhaps superficially, perhaps decisively) he should be captain because of his spectacular beard.

That triumph of manliness, that feat of face fuzz, a crumb-catcher of Old Testament proportions differentiates him from his baby-faced colleagues as a man I wouldn’t think twice about following into battle.

Denvor de Wee

We need some rainbow in the mix

Mine is a left-field choice and I’m unapologetic about it.

It’s time South Africa fields a captain of colour and one who has leadership experience.

The best choice in the current mix is Alviro Petersen, who happens to be the only provincial captain in the Proteas test setup.

The team needs to be picked before a captain is selected, but in the South African cricketing culture, that has not always been the case.

Faith needs to be shown in players of colour who are capable leaders and in Petersen, the selectors have their man.

This will also open the door for players like Thami Tsolekile and others who have been banging at it with no success.

Petersen is not everybody’s cup of tea.

Frankly, I don’t like him either, as he tends to present himself as cocky and arrogant.

But hey, he gets the job done in a very professional manner.

The Highveld Lions are a professional team that neither give nor take quarters.

They have developed into a quality team under Petersen’s leadership and he could help continue this culture of success with the Proteas.

The Proteas could also do with a captain who has a no-nonsense approach to favouritism, which has been the order of the day in South African cricket thus far.

Petersen also took over the Highveld Lions captaincy when they were in a leadership state of emergency , which Cricket SA currently finds itself in.

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers are the best batsmen in the Proteas setup and the last thing we need in the absence of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis is to expose them to multiple roles while having to bear the batting responsibilities.

Petersen is a natural leader of men who can hold his own in terms of performance. Leading from the front also brings out the best in him.

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