Port Elizabeth, January 15: South Africa assistant coach Enoch Nkwe believes axed batsman Temba Bavuma could replace Faf du Plessis as Proteas captain.
Du Plessis said Bavuma must score a "weight of runs" in domestic cricket after he was dropped from the squad ahead of the second Test against England at Newlands.
Bavuma's omission left Kagiso Rabada as the only black African in the side for the defeat at Newlands, where the Proteas failed to meet the target of selecting six non-white players.
Nkwe says Bavuma will be back and feels he could skipper his country when Du Plessis' reign comes to an end.
Asked if he sees the 29-year-old as a future captain, Nkwe is quoting as saying by ESPN Cricinfo: "In my mind, yes. I can see that happening.
"But he does understand that he needs to put in some performances. The future could be in a year's time, it could be in two years' time, we don't know.
"Having worked with him in the last year-and-a-half, he has got the qualities, there's no question around that. I wouldn't be surprised if, after Faf, he takes over. That will be great for South African cricket."
Remember why you started. pic.twitter.com/vnFVYv7wI8— Temba Bavuma (@tbavuma10) January 13, 2020
Nkwe does not think Bavuma's loss of form is down to the weight of expectation as South Africa's first black Test batsman.
"Knowing Temba, no. There is always going to be pressure in this environment but if you look at it, he has been unlucky. Let's be honest," Nkwe said of a player with a solitary Test century and 13 fifties to his name.
"There's been times where he got 95 not out and he was probably one big hit to get over the line and he was unfortunate.
"There's been times where he got 70, 80. But also sometimes people tend to forget that the situations he has come in for South Africa have been challenging and he has been able to take the team from that position and put them in a much healthier position.
"Sometimes he gets out for 60, sometimes he gets out for 50 and if you look at the batting positions over the last couple of years - numbers four, five and six - he has been able to make those massive contributions.
"They might look small in terms of numbers but his contribution has been very powerful for the team and put them in a winning position.
"He has had good partnerships with Quinny [Quinton de Kock] and obviously Quinny has been more explosive. If maybe a bit of luck had gone his way he would have got two or three more hundreds, but those things we've put behind us.
"I know that, having spoken to him recently, he is someone that actually looks forward to getting an opportunity. He is going to do everything in his power to make sure that when the next opportunity comes he is ready for it.
"He wants to be in this environment and hopefully in the future he performs well enough and he can lead the team because I know having worked with him, he is a strong leader, very smart and he is able to lead a massive group to greater heights."