Pacer Dale Steyn and former skipper Graeme Smith have reignited the South African cricket captaincy debate, with Steyn endorsing AB de Villiers to lead the country while Smith calling for the batsman to focus on getting back to the field and playing cricket.
De Villiers was named captain of the Test team after Hashim Amla stepped down from the role during the home series against England, but is yet to fully take control of his new job. An elbow injury forced Villiers to undergo treatment which resulted in him missing the home series against New Zealand and the assignment to Australia.
He is expected to return for Sri Lanka's tour to the country. Smith wants the 32-year-old to focus on getting fit and batting comfortably without taking too much pressure relating to captaincy and his role in leading the team.
"The most important thing for AB now is to just focus on getting back and fit and playing cricket. I don't think he should even engage in thinking about the captaincy because he can't captain from the sidelines. Having had an elbow injury, it's not an easy thing to recover from. It takes time, getting those tendons strong and all those muscles. That's your primary arm you use when you bat. He should focus on that. The sooner we can get him playing cricket for South Africa, the better", Smith said, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
In de Villiers absence, Faf du Plessis has done a brilliant job as skipper, drawing praise from all quarters for his handling of the team especially post their sudden dip in form. Since then the Proteas have won back to back Test series against New Zealand and Australia, while also whitewashing the Aussies 5-0 in the limited overs format.
Despite these successes on the field, current teammate Dale Steyn has come out in support of the batsman.
"I think so, he is the captain. He is definitely the captain. I know Faf has done really well for us right now, but AB is the captain. He has earned that spot. He has played for a long time, and he said he wants to do it and he got the opportunity to. Unfortunately, he got injured, but he is the man at the end of the day", Steyn said as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.