New Delhi: AB de Villiers on Monday stepped down as the skipper of the South African cricket team with immediate affect after being ruled out of the three Tests against Sri Lanka as he continues to recover from elbow surgery.
AB, who also missed the recently concluded series against Australia, backed Faf du Plessis to continue as the skipper of the team.
"The interests of the team must always outweigh the interests of any individual, including me," de Villiers said. "It was a fantastic honour for me to be asked to captain the Test side but I have missed two series and I am still in doubt for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka. Following the squad's outstanding performances in Australia, it is clearly in the greater interests of the team that Faf du Plessis should be confirmed as the permanent Test captain."
De Villiers was appointed in January following Hashim Amla’s resignation, and led the team in two Test matches against England before injury forced him to miss the series against New Zealand and Australia at the beginning of the 2016/2017 season.
Proteas team manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee explained: “AB’s left elbow is much improved but is still regaining the last few degrees of straightening. Fitness to play requires full range of elbow movement and this may take another 3-4 weeks to achieve.
“He will be unavailable for the Test series against Sri Lanka and will target a return for the ODI series starting at the end of January.”
Cricket South Africa Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, also expressed his admiration for the decision taken by de Villiers.
“AB has always carried himself as a true team player and his decision to step down confirms his attitude to put the team first,” said Lorgat.
“it is no surprise that the CSA Board has confirmed Faf du Plessis as the Test captain to take over from AB,” concluded Lorgat.
The Proteas test squad for the Sri Lanka series will be announced later this week.