Maharaj throws name into Proteas captaincy hat

Keshav Maharaj (PA)
Keshav Maharaj (PA)

A surprising but interesting candidate for the Proteas' vacant Test captaincy has emerged.

Keshav Maharaj, the national team's frontline spinner in the five-day format, on Thursday almost innocuously stated that he'd be more than willing to be considered for a leadership position.

While the left-arm tweaker has also made steady progress back into the limited overs setup, most recently appearing in the ODI series against Australia, Quinton de Kock has the stewardship in those sides sewn up.

Maharaj's credentials didn't exactly gain top-of-mind awareness from the cricketing fraternity until he was appointed the Dolphins' successful domestic One-Day Cup campaign this season, an adventure that has made the humble 29-year-old hungry for more.

The Dolphins were awarded the title after Cricket South Africa suspended the domestic season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I've really enjoyed captaincy from the time I've been handed the opportunity this past season," he said.

"I really want to captain the Proteas. It's been my dream. Not a lot of people in the national setup actually know that, but the few who have approached me on the matter know that."

In an ideal world, in fact, Maharaj would like to go for broke.

"I'd like to captain the South African team across all three formats and I want to raise a World Cup trophy with my own hands, as the leader of the side," he said.

"I didn't merely want to play for the Proteas. Lifting that silverware has always been my childhood dream."

For now though, he's just grateful that his Dolphins stint has given him a bit of street credit ... and, vitally, regain form too.

"I specifically asked what I needed to do to get back into the ODI side and was told that I need to work on my batting and stuff," said Maharaj.       

"So I went back and was fortunate enough to be the captain, which helped me gain some responsibility. I also got a few scores and wickets."

- Compiled by Heinz Schenk

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