AB: Difficult transition after Smith retired


South Africa batsman and ODI captain AB de Villiers says the Proteas have found dealing with long-time skipper Graeme Smith's retirement a lot tougher than anticipated, but have started to settle now.

Smith captained the Proteas, in all formats, for more than a decade, and retired in 2014. This came after legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis, and wicketkeeper Mark Boucher retired within the past three years too.

De Villiers, who leads the one-day side while Hashim Amla leads the Test team and Faf du Plessis the T20 side, said it was tough to lose their senior players, and adapt to three new skippers.

De Villiers said on the ICC website: "It was a very difficult phase when Jacques, Graeme and Mark and to an extent even Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini and some of the big names retired.

"But especially Graeme now recently, because he started a certain culture that we are very proud of now and that we play for.

"But in saying that, when he retired there was a big change in the team, a lot of senior guys took over the side and we had to start something different again.

"The way Graeme led the side was a whole lot different to what’s happening now.

"For a while we were hanging on to what Graeme used to do, but after a few months we realised we had to let go of certain things."

While the Proteas lost in the semi-finals of the World Cup this year, and recently lost an ODI series against Bangladesh, De Villiers feels they are on the right track, and the skippers are finding their grooves.

He added: "I think we're doing a really job good. There’s a nice, fresh vibe and we're confident about where we'd heading as a cricket side.

"That culture is still in place that Graeme created, but we're confident about the way we're doing things at the moment."

The Proteas, the top-ranked Test side, go to India in early October for a tour that will last nearly three months, and will see four Tests played in the latter half.