SOUTHAMPTON – The West Indies may not be talking about AB de Villiers’s absence from the Proteas line-up, but silently they must surely be breathing a sigh of relief.
De Villiers has faced the Windies in three World Cup games. Each time he has struck a century, amassing 415 runs in the process, while being dismissed only once.
The fact is De Villiers is retired. And talk about a possible return to the Proteas on the eve of the 2019 World Cup last week has just been an unnecessary distraction. South Africa have to focus on the here and now. Lose and their World Cup is effectively over. Win, and they live to fight another day. Kagiso Rabada will certainly be giving it his all and more.
“We’ve just got a stiff challenge ahead of us, but we’re ready to stand up, rise up to it,” Rabada said yesterday. “I think that’s just in our DNA as South Africans. The way we play our cricket, you know, we are always there. If you look at how we play our cricket, we never give up. We just need a few things to click.”
It certainly will take every ounce of energy for SA to prevail. After years of drifting in the international wilderness, perpetually in a state of turmoil due to rifts between star players and the West Indies Cricket Broad that makes the “AB Gate” saga look like child’s play, the Windies have rediscovered their Calypso mojo.
They are back to hitting the ball long and hard. They are bowling fast again. And most importantly they are enjoying every minute of it.