Moses of the Proteas: de Villiers or du Plessis?
Two boys, same city, same school, same persona! Everything’s the same yet it’s so different!
The question of who being the better captain arises as the title of the ‘Moses’ of South Africa hangs in the balance.
After thrashing the Kangaroos 2-1 in the test series on Australian soil under the leadership of Faf du Plessis, de Villiers handed over his resignation and relinquished the test captaincy of the squad permanently to du Plessis who was acting as his deputy.
In came the decision as soon as de Villiers was declared unfit for the third series against in a row against Sri Lanka. A persistent elbow injury, which required surgery, ruled de Villiers out of the series against New Zealand and Australia and du Plessis stepped in to lead South Africa to impressive victories.
Now, as much as I respect and admire the talent of Ab de Villiers, undoubtedly and unanimously the #1 batsman in the world today, the resignation of the ODI captain brought a sense of joy in me.
He may be Mr. 360 but the Proteas deserve a better leader than him. OMG! What has the writer just said? That may come as a shock to some, and I may have earned a million angry stares there, but it’s true.
With the likes of Hansie Cronje and Graeme Smith having led the side, I don’t think there’s a scarcity of unparalleled leading skills in the nation. Graeme Smith was the King Leonidas of his squad. As far as Mr. 360 is concerned, you simply don’t hand over the captaincy to the best player in your team. India did the same mistake when it handed over the captaincy to Sachin R. Tendulkar, back in ’96. To put it plainly, they’re too soft for it.
Let me explain it with the help of an example. Talking of the Semi-Final of the 2015 ICC World Cup, which let to the elimination of the South Africans by the hands of New Zealand, what made one side better than the other in that particular game?Both the sides were equally poised, had quality batsmen and devastating bowlers. Some would also agree that the South African side was better. But what was different?
Was it really the curse of the chokers or the lack of agression in the captaincy of the the Proteas?
The DIFFERENCE there was Brendon McCullum, or his approach in leading the squad. He was dynamic, fearless and capable of the taking the right decisions at the right time without panicking.
I mean who out of the modern day captains would keep both the third slip and the gully on till the 25th over in ODI cricket especially when the opposition batsmen were going berserk.That was just one of the agressive moves of the Kiwi captain that forced the South African batsman to do something out of the box. And when the New Zealanders were chasing a humongous target of 282 runs in 43 overs, South African fielders and bowlers were let down by their inexpressive and softened captaincy. I’m not saying that another captain would’ve changed the result of the match, I’m just saying the Protean team didn’t get the much needed motivation which was required. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And these desperate actions of captains give the taste of victory.
Faf is a pretty agressive guy in comparison to de Villiers and sometimes you need that necessary evil in your squad to pump up your guys, cleary demonstrated by Virat Kohli successfully leading the Royal Challengers’ in the Indian Premier League. Faf would hopefully provide the missing special ingredient in the SA team and probably devour the chokers’ tag in the championships to come.
Hence, I see the stepping down of captaincy by Ab de Villiers as a welcome decision, and hopefully he’s able to concentrate more on improving his game and achieve many more milestones to come for the nation.