The South African board has taken a step towards the future by appointing AB de Villiers as the captain of both, the ODI and the T20I squads. This means that Johan Botha, who was earlier the captain of the T20I side and was expected to take over the captaincy of the ODI team as well, missed out and will now need to fight to retain his place in the playing eleven.>
Not that we did not know this was coming. The convenor selectors, Andrew Hudson had already hinted that the side was looking towards the future once the side had bowed out early of the World Cup. This meant that Botha, who is 29, did not belong to the South African vision for the future, a part of which is probably because of the presence of two other spinners; Imran Tahir, whose leg-spinners make his presence a viable option and Robin Peterson, who can fill up the role of an all-rounder in the squad.
It is interesting to note that Botha had played in the IPL last month as an all-rounder, batting at the number three position and not as a pinch-hitter. He had had managed to win his side a couple of games with the bat in the hand, even as he strangled the opponents with his bowling. This is probably an indication that he would have probably seen it coming. Now, he will look to retain his place in the side as a batsman alone.
It is also interesting to note that the choice of vice-captaincy fell on the shoulders of Hashim Amla, the team’s best batsman currently. Amla had earlier given up on the captaincy of his first class side because he did not consider himself as captain-material and it will be interesting to see how he manages the pressure of deputising for de Villiers. Already he has said that he had a long thought about whether he wanted to become the vice-captain.
The Test match leadership still belongs to Graeme Smith, who was apologetic about the way he rushed off to Ireland after the World Cup sham. He said that he hadn’t accounted for the fans’ reaction, which is bit of a surprise given that the side had been expected to do great things in the World Cup and had, for the umpteenth time, choked at an earlier round.
Gary Kirsten will coach the side while Allan Donald will be the bowling coach. Russell Domingo has been appointed as the assistant coach.