CAPE TOWN: Francois ‘Faf’ du Plessis was handed the captaincy of the South African One-Day International team on Sunday after AB de Villiers was suspended for a slow over rate in the first match against New Zealand.
It was another twist in a tale of two cricketers who were schoolboy team-mates at the Afrikaans Boys High school in Pretoria.
Back then it was Du Plessis, who was the captain of the first XI, although De Villiers was always the more obvious future star, playing for South African Schools in his last two years at school, while Du Plessis missed selection.
But Du Plessis earned a place on a South African U-19 tour of England in 2003 and was made vice-captain to Imraan Khan, who played in one Test for South Africa in the 2008/09 season.
De Villiers was playing international cricket barely two years after leaving school and was named captain of South Africa’s one-day international and Twenty20 teams soon after Gary Kirsten took over as coach two years ago.
Du Plessis made slower progress, making his one-day international debut two seasons ago.
But he quickly earned recognition as one of the leaders in a team environment.
When De Villiers sought a rest ahead of a Test series against New Zealand, Du Plessis captained the South African Twenty20 team in three matches during December, and now he will be in charge for the remaining two one-day internationals against the Kiwis, in Kimberley Tuesday and Potchefstroom Friday.
Left-handed batsman David Miller was added to the squad to fill the gap in personnel left by De Villiers.
In addition to De Villiers being suspended, the South African players will lose their entire match fee after it was found the home side were six overs short.