JOHANNESBURG: Star batsman AB de Villiers quit as South Africa one-day international (ODI) skipper on Wednesday, but committed to representing his country in all three cricket formats.
“Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the Twenty20 (T20) and Test teams,” he said in a statement.
“Bearing this in mind, I have informed Cricket South Africa that I would like to step down as ODI captain.
“It has been an honour to lead the team for the past six years, but it is now time for someone else to take the ODI side forward.
“Whoever is chosen as the new ODI captain will have my complete support.”
De Villiers last skippered the ODI team two months ago in the Champions Trophy in England, where South Africa failed to reach the semi-finals after defeats by Pakistan and India.
He has averaged 53.56 runs in 221 appearances in the one-day format since debuting against England 12 years ago.
De Villiers rejected media claims that he was cherry-picking when to play for South Africa and putting himself before the team.
“That is simply not true. That has never been true. Playing for South Africa is, and will always be, the greatest privilege of my life,” he said.
He missed the recent 3-1 Test series defeat in England, last playing for South Africa in the longest format at the beginning of 2016.
De Villiers said mental and physical tiredness and raising a young family had forced him to take a temporary international break.
“I really do feel refreshed and revived,” said the 33-year-old.
“I want to get back on the field and today assured the national selectors that I will be available for selection in all three formats of the game during the coming season.
“There is plenty of hard work ahead in the nets and I must prepare properly, but I will be ready to play, if required, from the middle of October.
“If I am lucky enough to be selected, I cannot guarantee runs and catches. Nobody can do that.
“But what I can absolutely guarantee is 100 percent commitment to the Proteas in every format of the game, as and when required.
“That was my promise when I made my debut in 2004, and that is my promise today.”
South Africa host Bangladesh (all formats), India (provisionally all formats) and Australia (Tests only) during the 2017-2018 season.
Apart from his batting prowess, De Villiers bowls medium right-arm deliveries and has fulfilled the wicketkeeper role.