The search continues for the next Test Captain for the Protea’s men’s team. Whether Faf will retire or not it is clear that CSA and Mark Boucher will be looking for a fresh face to lead the team into a new era. A few names have been thrown into the hat and one or two guys have come forward as would-be captains. Here’s a look at the names people have been talking about
Quinton de Kock, while QdK has already been ruled out of the job by Graeme Smith many still consider him the best man for the job. The worry with Quinny is that keeping in all 3 formats plus being captain and pulling his weight with the bat will be too much of a toll on the young man who is already under tremendous pressure. Although he has taken to the captaincy quickly in the shorter formats, there is a feeling that handing him the test captaincy would be too much to handle.
Dean Elgar is another name that has been in most people’s minds as well. While Deano has the experience to lead the Protea’s and the skill level, he is now in all likelihood heading into the twilight of his career and as such, realistically how long will he be able to keep his place in the team. With talented young openers coming through and Dean’s form not the best in recent times, one could argue that his place might be in question before long and therefore should not be considered as captain.
Aiden Markram has come forward and stated his desire to captain the Protea’s test team. Going as far as to say that he would,’ give an arm and a leg to be captain’. Aiden has some captaincy experience; he guided the SA u19 team to its only World Cup win in 2014. Many believe that Markram will replace Faf du Plessis in the team when he decides to call it quits but Markram was recently dropped from the test team and is yet to take his place in the team permanent. Aiden would first need to cement his place in the team before he is considered as captain. At present, there are too many question marks surrounding Markram for him to be the long term replacement as a batsman for Faf, let alone as captain!
Keshav Maharaj has also come forward and thrown his name in the hat. Kesh has captained at the provincial level before and there are no question marks over his place in the test team. Of course one could make the argument that on certain pitches in SA and abroad where an all seam attack in needed, Kesh might be the first name on the chopping block. The powers that be would have to find a creative way around this problem but in my opinion, the team should always have a spinner in it regardless of conditions. A spinner thinks about the game differently. They have to think about what the pitch is doing now, an hour from now, tomorrow and two days from now. In many ways, Kesh would be perfect for the job. It all depends on what happens with the bat that makes the difference. SA has struggled with the bat in recent years and as such Kesh has been nullified somewhat. Runs on the board make a spinner much more effective in controlling the game in almost any conditions. Keshav’s stint as captain if he were to get the job might be a short one if he can’t rely on runs from the top order.
Kagiso Rabada, a name that no one seems to be considering but me! In my opinion the perfect man for the job. KG’s pace in the team has never been questioned unless he needs to be rested or is injured. As the spearhead of the SA attack, he can lead from the front as skipper. Giving him the captaincy might settle him down as well, not in terms of his place but as a young cricketer. He has recently been banned for a test match for excessive celebrations after getting wickets and while many did not agree with the sanction the ICC saw fit to ban him for a test match. Making KG captain will help him stay in control and force him to put the team first. While he has struggled lately in the opinion of some, during that period his test average is almost identical to that of Jimmy Anderson for his career. For context, Jimmy is the leading wicket-taker among seamers in test cricket. KG is young enough that he will obviously be learning on the job and yet experienced enough to be able to handle the pressures that come with it. He came into the team as a very young man and was almost immediately asked to lead the attack in the absence of Dale Steyn who suffered from injuries in the last few years of his Test career. Rabada has learnt from the likes of Steyn, Morkel, Philander as well as former captain Faf du Plessis. He has also played with the likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and many other experienced cricketers. Giving him an education in test cricket that not many others have.
Due to COVID-19 the tour of the West Indies will in all likelihood be postponed and we will have to wait and see who the powers that be go with as captain but it will most likely be one of the above-mentioned names.