Faf du Plessis has ended his tenure as an international captain, Cricket South Africa said on Monday (February 17). A release said Du Plessis, 35, had "cited a need to take a step back from captaincy in order to help facilitate the emergence of the next generation of leaders within the team under the new stewardship of Quinton de Kock".
De Kock was appointed ODI captain ahead of the series against England at the start of this month, and continued in the role when Du Plessis was rested for the T20 rubber. Du Plessis is expected to keep his place in the squad to play three T20s against Australia, starting at the Wanderers on Friday.
Du Plessis was also South Africa's Test captain. But their next engagement in that format is in the Caribbean in July, so there is no hurry to choose a new leader.
"The last few weeks of rest away from the game have given me a lot of perspective on the great privilege and honour I have had in representing and leading my country in the three formats of this wonderful game. It has been a rewarding, sometimes tough and other times a lonely road, but I would not replace the experience for anything, because it has made me the man that I am proud to be today," he said about his decision.
"When I took over the leadership, I did so with the commitment to lead, perform and most importantly, to serve. As the team heads into a new direction with new leaders and a young crop of players, I feel it will be in the best interests of South African cricket to relinquish the captaincy in all formats. This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton, Mark and my teammates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group."
Du Plessis was appointed full-time T20I captain in 2013 and four years later took charge of the ODI side after the retirement of AB de Villiers. He remains the only South African captain to win a home and away series against Australia in both Tests and ODIs.
Du Plessis stressed he's available for selection in all three formats. "South African cricket has entered a new era. New leadership, new faces, new challenges and new strategies. I remain committed to play in all three formats of the game for now as a player and will offer my knowledge and time to the new leaders of the team," he said.
"After the 2019 ICC World Cup, I made the decision to continue in my role as captain while the team went through a rebuilding phase following the retirement of some key senior players and a complete overhaul of the coaching staff that we had worked with until then. It was important to me that I stayed to help the team find its feet and plot a new way forward while assisting in identifying the next generation of leaders within the players' group during a time of turbulence in SA cricket. The last season of my captaincy has been the most challenging to date as I had a lot of off-field issues that I devoted my energy towards.
"I have strived to lead the team with dignity and authenticity during exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I have given my everything during my tenure. I have never been one to throw in the towel and do believe I am putting the team first and believe we have to stick through the tough times to get to the good times. In a perfect world, I would have loved to lead the team in the Tests for the rest of the season as well as the T20 World Cup, but sometimes the most important attribute of a leader is to be selfless. I am healthy, fit, energised and motivated and certainly see myself playing an important role in the squad for as long as I continue putting in winning performances for the team."