Champions Trophy 2017 June 8, 2017

De Villiers will turn it up against India - Domingo


Play 00:35
'No concerns about De Villiers' - Domingo

The South African camp is confident their captain AB de Villiers will deliver in what could be a must-win match against India on Sunday. Though de Villiers contributed only four runs in two group matches, and is nursing a slight hamstring injury, South Africa coach Russell Domingo and de Villiers' team-mates expect him to come through when it counts.

"I have no concerns about AB de Villiers," Domingo said. "I'm expecting him to put in a big performance on Sunday. He's that type of player that when the team needs him, he'll turn it up on Sunday. I'm sure about that."

De Villiers will be treated for his niggle - a tight right hamstring - over the next two days and will have a fitness test on Saturday to determine his availability for Sunday's match.

In the absence of runs from de Villiers, South Africa have had to rely on Hashim Amla against Sri Lanka and David Miller against Pakistan to provide backbone for their innings. Miller was happy to share the load. "It is tough [when AB doesn't perform]," Miller said. He is the best player in the world so it's nice when he does perform, and that's 95% of the time.

"I haven't seen him go out for a nought too many times in his career. He is human at the end of the day and there are enough good batters in the team to contribute as well. I don't think it's a huge problem at all. We've done well over the last two-and-a-half years and all the batters that we have can do the job. AB, unfortunately, didn't come off but he is definitely due on Sunday."

All the talk about Sunday's match and the expectations of de Villiers performing may only put pressure on a man who is already under some strain. De Villiers' form was questioned before the tournament, after an IPL which even Domingo described as "quiet," although de Villiers felt he was "hitting the ball better than ever".

That may be true but, after his first golden duck in 212 ODI innings, he is also hitting the ball straight to fielders. The pressure on de Villiers is mounting and for Morne Morkel that means the rest of the South African seniors have to step up.

"It's a big tournament for him (AB), and for all of us. We are hungry to take this trophy back home. He is only human. Us as players or team-mates, we need to stand up as well and take responsibility," Morkel said. "It's not all on AB's shoulders. "

With de Villiers opting out of Test cricket for the rest of this year, a second child on the way, and the way he has spoken about wanting to manage his time, speculation over his international career is growing. But Morkel said de Villiers still had the desire to keep going. "AB has got all the energy and is still hungry to play," he said.

Morkel intends to be at de Villiers' side in that. After a comeback to the ODI side following a year on the sidelines, the fast bowler provided South Africa's attack with much-needed stability. Although he continues to compete with an allrounder for his place in the XI, Morkel was hopeful of playing against India on Sunday, expecting "something special" from a South African side.

"It's going to take a big team effort to knock over India," he said. "They are a confident team at the moment but we have to back ourselves to win."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • maryaq4618816 on June 12, 2017, 5:18 GMT

    Now AB de Villiers disappointed me a lot. He is my most favourite player but in yesterday's match against India SA team didnt fight against India. we are not happy at this..

  • Anthony on June 11, 2017, 8:55 GMT

    At some point in time AB de V is bound to come good. It is what is expected from a class player. I am sure that India will not treat this as a practice game as they did against Sri Lanka according to the SL wicketkeeper's video. Disrespect to other teams and unjustified arrogance always comes at a cost!!!

  • Samarpreet on June 10, 2017, 6:42 GMT

    @HOENDERHOK Why not Faf? They don't have a specialist batsman in their squad if AB gets injured. Theunis de Bruyn is playing for SA 'A' in England. He may be considered.

  • pillay7483376 on June 9, 2017, 13:43 GMT

    I think AB must be rested for the coming game.He is a burden with the bat & his captaincy.Give Alma the captaincy and bring in Keshav

  • Fair on June 9, 2017, 11:57 GMT

    SA fans delude themselves all the time by conferring titles such as best batsman, best bowler, best team etc. on their players. Continue doing so if it keeps you happy. The moment the team gets beaten though, excuses start coming out of the cupboard, like quota system, allowing certain players to play IPL, team selection etc.

  • VEERASENAREDDY on June 9, 2017, 11:29 GMT

    Simply people say Faf captaincy is best. If Faf is the best captain, then he would have won World cup 20-20 at least once in three attempts. He can not win game his own.

  • Dhawala on June 9, 2017, 11:24 GMT

    My SL xi vs Pak - Dickwella Danushka Mendis Kapugedera Mathews Dananjaya Thisara Lakmal Prasanna Pradeep Malinga

  • Mohammad Zamin on June 9, 2017, 11:04 GMT

    Considering they have a far better bowling attack than India and a strong batting lineup I think SA will edge out India, however SA is not so great against SC teams in tournaments primarily because they dont play spin so well. Pak has very effective spinners, India will need to take a gamble on Ashwin and play him alongside Jadeja since SA is going to smash pandya into bits.

  • randolf on June 9, 2017, 10:44 GMT

    AB De Villers is in-disputably the greatest batsman seen on the cricket field during the last decade or so. I think that Virat Kohli comes in a close second; and may overtake him in the future, but what we've seen so far, it must be De Villiers. I think too, that it's a stretch to compare other names the likes of the Steve Smiths, Joe Roots and Cane Williamsons in their class. They're definitely not up with the duo. Although Steve Smith has the "one-man 11" great winner record that mainly characterises the duo, to put them among the Bradmans, Soberses, Laras, Viv Richardses or Sangakkaras, he is not considered; because he would not have been able to withstand a full spell from Wazim Akram, or Malcolm Marshall or Joel Garner; and his bat doesn't have a sweet spot. But AB is not firing this year, because he seems very casual about his cricket in recent times - he seems not to have the hunger for the game any more. Imagine such a young man of rare talent not playing test cricket!

  • wilson2513538 on June 9, 2017, 10:18 GMT

    Seriously tough crowd up in here! How people can say AB is overrated is simply ludicrous. You write AB off at your own peril. Every great batsman goes through their ups and downs, it's part of the game. AB is too talented not to come into runs soon, and if I were India I would be mighty worried about now - Both DeKock and AB are due runs, and Rabada has yet to find his rhythm. Sunday should be a cracker of a game, let's hope the weather plays along. As for JP and Parnell... it's mind-blowing how many chances these guys have been given and they simply DO NOT cut it at international level. Both are well passed their expiry date.

  • No featured comments at the moment.