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‘The stress is too much for one man’: Smith explains Proteas captaincies

05 March 2021 - 14:33 By mahlatse mphahlele
Graeme Smith during the CSA media briefing.
Graeme Smith during the CSA media briefing.
Image: Bertram Malgas/Gallo Images

Cricket SA’s (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith has explained why they went with two captains for the Proteas’ Test and limited overs sides.

On Thursday‚ CSA chose opener Dean Elgar as skipper for the Test team and middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma as captain for the T20s and ODIs, with Smith saying they didn’t want to overburden one player with the responsibility of captaining all the sides.

Bavuma has become the first black African player to captain the Proteas but Hashim Amla‚ JP Duminy‚ Justin Ontong and Farhaan Behardien have led the various teams in the past.

“The main reason [we went with two captains] is that we feel it is a very difficult job to captain all three formats‚” said former Proteas Test captain Smith.

“The stress is too much for one man to do that, because of the workload and the job in itself. We just felt it is too much to give it to one person.

“We wanted a captain in the white-ball format, which is Temba, and we felt that Dean was the best man for the Test side - and he will work with Temba as vice-captain to try to create continuity.”

Smith also explained that former limited overs captain and stand-in Test captain Quinton de Kock was consulted before the decision to appoint Bavuma was made public.

“Since we got back from Pakistan‚ we have had a number of engagements with him [De Kock] and he was not part of the recently completed CSA T20 Challenge for mental reasons. We engaged him and we had a plan for him on a number of occasions and we understand the burden of leadership was too much for a player like Quinton.”

Smith further explained that De Kock remains committed to the Proteas in all formats in this period that includes the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cups‚ the ODI World Cup in 2023 and the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.

“We wanted to free him up and his commitment to SA cricket is there. We want to get the best out of him as a player and a team man.

“He will definitely form part of our leadership group and we felt that this is the right way to move SA cricket.

“There is always a little bit of emotion around these things, but Quinton understands there is a burden that comes with leadership. It hasn’t been an easy time for him either but he is a proud guy and I am sure that there is a little bit of emotion around this.

“From myself‚ the selectors and the coaching staff, we firmly believe this is the right way forward and we have engaged with him on this. It required us to make a tough and important decision for the best of SA cricket.

“To back leaders going forward is crucial and we feel like we have chosen the best two men do to that.”