Who could replace Faf? 5 candidates for Proteas Test captaincy

Temba Bavuma (Gallo)
Temba Bavuma (Gallo)

Cape Town - As the Proteas turn their attention to a three-match ODI series against England, starting at Newlands on Tuesday, uncertainty remains over the future of Test captain Faf du Plessis

READ: The complexities surrounding Faf du Plessis' Proteas captaincy

There is, of course, no need for panic with a two-Test tour to the West Indies in July South Africa's next participation in the format. 

Director of Cricket Graeme Smith has spoken of the need to discuss Du Plessis' future with him, and there could be an opportunity to do that in the coming days and weeks with Du Plessis not included in the ODI squad. 

Instead, Quinton de Kock will lead the charges on that front, with Du Plessis expected to return for the T20 series starting in East London on February 12. 

One of the major concerns on the Test stage is that there is no obvious captaincy replacement for Du Plessis for whenever he does decide to step away. 

There are options, but none stand out. 

Here, we take a quick look at FIVE players who would come into that conversation if the Proteas had to field a new Test captain in the Caribbean. 

Temba Bavuma

The national vice-captain for October's tour to India, Bavuma was dropped during the England series. He forced his way back into the side for the fourth Test at the Wanderers, but he is still some way off commanding a regular place in the Test side. Assistant coach Enoch Nkwe believes that Bavuma has all the right ingredients to replace Du Plessis when the time is right, but he surely needs to find form with the bat first. With 40 Test caps under the belt and still just 29, Bavuma should be poised to lead. That Test average of 30.75, though, sticks out. 

Quinton de Kock 

Now the full-time ODI captain, De Kock remains South Africa's most valuable asset in all three formats. Often criticised for his seemingly carefree approach to most things, including press responsibilities, De Kock's real genius lies on the field. Anyone who has played with him will tell you how tactically astute he is, while he leads by example through his performances alone. Few doubt De Kock's captaincy ability to lead in limited overs cricket - he has already led in two ODIs and two T20s - but the demands of Test cricket would add a whole lot more onto the plate of a man who, many times, has single-handedly kept the Proteas afloat. 

Dean Elgar

Elgar has captained the Proteas twice - once at Lord's in 2017 and then against Pakistan at the Wanderers in 2019. He is a big character in the South African dressing room and he embodies exactly the fighting spirit that new coach Mark Boucher is looking to instil. The problem, though, is that Elgar will be 33 by the time West Indies tour comes around so he is not a long-term solution. With his experience and proven ability to tough it out, Elgar still has a massive role to play in South Africa's Test side, but it is unlikely to come as captain. 

Aiden Markram

This should be the perfect time for Markram to step into leadership but, like Bavuma, he has not done himself any favours with the bat. The captain of the triumphant SA U-19 side of 2014 has long been tipped as a future Proteas skipper, but 2019 was a woeful year for Markram. He is currently sidelined with injury and, with Pieter Malan having been given a chance against England, there are no guarantees that Markram will walk back into the starting line-up. Still just 25, Markram does have time on his side and will be an attractive option at this time of renewal. 

Rassie van der Dussen

The 30-year-old has burst onto the international stage and emerged from his maiden Test series with three half-centuries from eight innings. His input on the field at team huddles and in chatting to Du Plessis and the bowlers was noticeable. Du Plessis has often said that Van der Dussen is a player with natural leadership ability. He is a mature player with a strong cricketing brain while he has also shown an ability to stay composed during incredibly difficult situations. Those are qualities one looks for in a leader, and Van der Dussen might find himself in the conversation when the time comes to appoint as new skipper.  

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