Keshav Maharaj has asserted himself as another candidate for South Africa's Test captaincy after expressing his desire to lead the side.
South Africa's leadership vacuum in the red-ball format was created following Faf du Plessis' decision to step down as a result of the home series loss to England. Subsequently, CSA Director of Cricket ruled out Quinton de Kock as the new Proteas Test captain despite him being in charge of the white-ball setup.
Although Maharaj's aspirations appear to be ambitious, he does have captaincy experience, having been at the helm of affairs for Dolphins in the domestic one-day competition. His team was declared winners of the tournament by virtue of topping the points table after the coronavirus pandemic forced a premature conclusion.
The left-spinner primarily faces competition from Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma for the sought after job while the presence of Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen also stiffens the race.
"I’ve really enjoyed captaincy from the time I have been handed the opportunity over the past season. I really want to captain the Proteas. It’s been my dream – not many people in the Proteas set-up know that. Only a few of them who are close to me know that," Maharaj was quoted as saying by Sport24.
The 30-year-old's lifelong dream is not just limited to Tests as he wants to end South Africa's World Cup hoodoo. The Proteas have failed to reach the final of the prestigious 50-over event in eight attempts, coming painstakingly close in the 1992, 1999 and 2015 editions.
"I do want to captain the South African team across all three formats and I want to raise a World Cup trophy in my hands and as the leader of the side.
"Apart from wanting to play for the Proteas, as a childhood dream, captaining the team to a World Cup-winning campaign would be everything I’ve ever dreamed of."
Maharaj's services have predominantly been restricted to Test cricket where he has excelled as the side's premier spinner over the past few years.
With only seven ODI caps under his belt, doubts remain over his consistency in limited-overs cricket. However, the retirement of veteran Imran Tahir gives Maharaj an opportunity to cement his spot in the team.
Wrist-spinner Tabraiz Shamsi seems to be already a settled member of South Africa's ODI and T20I lineups but he is yet to acquire the stature of Tahir. Nevertheless, Maharaj is keen on working hard to earn his place in all three forms of the game.
"I have to buy my time in ODI cricket, and in Test cricket as well, to score some big runs to help my chances of selection. If I can help the team go No. 1 across all three formats, then I’m doing my job really well."