AB de Villiers is a must for Proteas ... their batting needs all the help they can get
DURING the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL opener against Mumbai Indians on April 9, I was surprised to see AB de Villiers donning the wicket-keeper gloves again.
“It hurts, just a little bit, when I see AB de Villiers playing as a wicket-keeper” was part of a tweet I posted at the time, with reference to the days when the former Proteas captain was reluctant to stand behind the stumps due to his back issues.
We also all know the problems he had with time away from his family, which played a role in him deciding to retire from international cricket in 2018.
He has been continuing his great form for RCB in recent seasons, and scored 48 off 27 balls against Mumbai. After missing out with one against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he was back at his destructive best against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday, smashing 76 not out off 34 balls.
Some of the shots was typically masterful De Villiers, and two stood out – a drive off the back foot off Harbhajan Singh, which went for six over long-off and brought up his 50, and a sweep for six over square leg from an Andre Russell full toss.
That is why I would agree with Proteas coach Mark Boucher to call on De Villiers for the T20 World Cup in October – of course, if South Africa are still part of international cricket, considering the problems with the administration at the moment ...
Both men have spoken recently about a possible Proteas comeback for De Villiers, who said after Sunday’s match that he was scheduled to have another chat with Boucher during the IPL.
Whatever has happened between De Villiers, the team set-up and Cricket South Africa in the past, with the way the Proteas are battling at the moment, they need all the help they can get.
Ideally he should be involved in the tour to the West Indies in July. How about a top-six of Quinton de Kock, captain Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram/Janneman Malan, Rassie van der Dussen, AB de Villiers and David Miller?
But some of the calls made by Boucher and his fellow selectors during the Pakistan series brought unnecessary pressure on the team.
If Andile Phehlukwayo is regarded as the leading all-rounder in the squad, why did he not bowl in two T20Is? Why would there be just four specialist batsmen chosen in the decider?
The continued omission of Kyle Verreynne just didn’t make sense, with Boucher’s explanation that the Cape Cobras man was seen as a back-up wicket-keeper to skipper Heinrich Klaasen simply not good enough.
Verreynne has proven to be good enough to represent his country in all three formats.
Boucher said that he was looking forward to having his full-strength side for the West Indies tour, where De Kock, Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortjé and Lungi Ngidi will be part of the XI.
But the opportunity to find their back-ups was somewhat wasted against Pakistan, and leaves serious question marks if injuries occur.