"Captaincy is 90 percent luck and 10 percent skill. But don't try it without that 10 percent."
– Richie Benaud
For South Africa's AB de Villiers, it is the other way round. He knows every shot in the book, his wicketkeeping standards are high and the immense potential to lead is clearly visible. Rarely does he need to depend on luck, for his talent alone takes him places. There isn't an iota of doubt as to who should be South Africa's next Test captain.
AB is the natural successor of Smith. While he enjoys taking risks as far as batting is concerned, he doesn't mind going the old fashioned way if it adds value to his captaincy. De Villiers is already reaping benefits of leading the ODI team, and his progress has been unquestionably rewarding in that format. South Africa will find an influential leader in AB if he takes the reins of the Test team.
De Villiers is patient. He waits for his turn, and when the turn comes, he will prove you wrong. Tell him he cannot bat at No.5, and he will reply with a century out of nowhere. He will also lead his men in the meanwhile, and the wicketkeeping gloves will never leave his backyard. He has some shrewd cricketing minds on the field, who can help him in decision-making. Hashim Amla is one of the finest batsmen South Africa could ever have, and leadership comes to him naturally. Faf du Plessis is a young captaincy material, and the experienced JP Duminy is always around. The bowlers, Steyn and Co., are a pack of strong men who need the right direction, and with AB they can certainly achieve that.
If De Villiers takes up full-time captaincy, he could then willingly give up wicketkeeping, if that may ease his job as a captain. The stats, though, tell a different story. He averages 50-plus in Tests, but ever since he took up the gloves, the average has shot up to a whopping 70. If he decides to challenge his limits, AB is unstoppable. He could bat, keep, captain. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
It is now all about choices for the world's No.1 batsman. He could probably promote himself up the batting order and pass on the gloves to a Quinton de Kock or a Thami Tsolekile. After all, captaincy in two of the most strenuous formats is a task, a back-breaking one.