CAPE TOWN          -         Faf du Plessis on Monday stepped down as South Africa’s Test and T20I captain, but said he wanted to continue playing and contributing to the team as a batsman and a senior player.

“The last few weeks of rest away from the game have given me a lot of perspective on the great privilege and honour I have had in representing and leading my country in the three formats of this wonderful game,” du Plessis said in a statement. “It has been a rewarding, sometimes tough and other times a lonely road, but I would not replace the experience for anything, because it has made me the man that I am proud to be today. “This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton [de kock, next in line to become captain], Mark [Boucher, the head coach] and my teammates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group.”

Du Plessis was appointed as South Africa’s full-time T20I captain in February 2013, before he took over the Test captaincy from AB de Villiers in 2016. In September 2017, he was named the ODI captain. Under him, South Africa made the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2014, but failed to replicate that in the following edition in 2016.

“Faf’s record as player and captain speaks for itself,” CSA Acting CEO, Dr Jacques Faul, remarked. “He has maintained the high standards he set for himself when he made a match-saving Test match century in Australia on debut in spite of the added responsibilities and pressures that come with leadership.

“His latest decision reminds us all of the manner in which he has always put the team first. Following the retirement of Vernon Philander, he and Dale Steyn are the last survivors of the golden generation that took the Proteas to the top of the Test rankings, and he still has a vital role to play as we bridge the gap between one generation and the next. “I am sure he will continue to add much value to the Proteas, both on the field and in the dressing room in the final chapter of his outstanding career.”