Faf du Plessis formally stood down as Proteas skipper in all formats of the game on Monday. He leaves a legacy of steely resolve that would serve as an example for Cricket South Africa as it faces a tough future.
In the sweltering Adelaide heat of early summer 2012, Faf du Plessis announced his arrival as a Test player of technique, skill and most vitally, character. Traits he never lost, nor abandoned even when form and circumstances turned against him. Those qualities ensured he became South Africa's captain and those attributes ensured that he never lost respect from peers and outsiders.
On debut, he thwarted the Australian bowling attack for the better part of two days, on his way to an unbeaten 110 to salvage a draw, which set the Proteas up for a historic Test series win in Australia. It was an innings that made his reputation but also weighed him down in his subsequent 64 Tests. Everything was compared to that epic seven-hour, 46 minutes innings in which he faced 376 balls.
On Monday, Du Plessis announced he was stepping down as South Africa's Test and T20 captain, just weeks after relinquishing the One-Day International (ODI) captaincy to...