CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has committed to playing for his country in all three formats of the game in the 2020/21 season, a boost for a test side that lacks experience and depth in the batting lineup.
The 35-year-old relinquished the captaincy in the limited overs formats to Quinton de Kock, and the team will also have a new test skipper for their tour of West Indies, which is still scheduled to start in late July.
Du Plessis says the lack of cricket due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen the Indian Premier League postponed, has reignited his desire to stay in the international arena.
He will make himself available for future One-Day International series having not featured in the 50-over format since the 2019 World Cup in England.
“I still love playing for the Proteas. I still see myself adding huge value,” he said in an interview released by Cricket South Africa on Monday.
“I am extremely motivated and keen to play in all three formats. This time away from the game has made sure that the hunger is still there for me and that is a big thing for players, to really still love what you do.”
Du Plessis says he will miss the captaincy but is relishing a role as mentor for the new generation of leaders.
“I love captaincy, it is a part of who I am. I have captained since the age of 13. I still look at myself as a leader before a player, so I enjoy that more than anything else.
“I will always miss it, but I do think that the time has come for me to move on to a position of growing other leaders, something that I feel is lacking in our system.
“I want to make sure I can create some sort of value towards that, helping guys with someone who is there to guide them and, if they want to, to have someone they can talk to within the team.
“It is a great opportunity for five or six guys to come together and create a leadership group in the Proteas that will drive the culture for the next four or five years.”
Du Plessis won 18 of his 36 tests as captain since taking over the role from AB de Villiers in 2016.
Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris