South Africa's Faf du Plessis on Monday announced that he will be stepping down from captaincy in both Tests and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) effective immediately to allow a new generation of leaders to develop in the side. The 35-year-old had already admitted earlier this year that he was not looking at his future in international cricket beyond the T20 World Cup in Australia in October. Cricket South Africa (CSA) made Du Plessis' decision public on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
CSA, in a series of tweets, also released the full statement of their outgoing skipper. "This was one of the toughest decisions to make, but I remain fully committed to supporting Quinton, Mark and my teammates as we continue to rebuild and re-align as a group," CSA quoted Faf du Plessis as saying.
Du Plessis's decision came a month after he had stepped down from the One-day International captaincy. Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who was named South Africa's ODI captain last month, is the front-runner to fill in his boots.
Explaining the thought process behind his decision, du Plessis said, "When I took over the leadership, I did so with the commitment to lead, perform & most importantly, to serve. As the team heads into a new direction with new leaders and a young crop of players, I feel it will be in the best interests of SA cricket to relinquish the captaincy".
In the last year or so, South Africa didn't perform to a level they would have liked. Last year, they made a first-round exit from the World Cup and then began their ICC World Test Championship campaign on the worst possible note, suffering a humiliating 3-0 loss to India.
"The last season of my captaincy has been the most challenging to date as I had a lot of off-field issues that I devoted my energy towards.
"I have strived to lead the team with dignity and authenticity during exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I have given my everything during my tenure," he added.
"South African cricket has entered a new era. New leadership, new faces, new challenges and new strategies. I remain committed to play in all three formats of the game for now as a player and will offer my knowledge and time to the new leaders of the team," said Du Plessis.
The right-handed batsman captained South Africa in a total of 112 international matches across all three formats since December 2012 when he led South Africa for the very first time against New Zealand in a T20I series.
(With agency inputs)