South Africa v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Paarl

Overburdened de Villiers abandons gloves

Firdose Moonda

January 18, 2013

Comments: 57 | Text size: A | A

AB de Villiers works with the gloves, Cape Town, December 29, 2012
AB de Villiers has conceded the gloves for South Africa's one-day series against New Zealand after fidning his many roles too onerous © Gallo Images
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AB de Villiers has, for the first time, admitted being overburdened by his roles as a batsman, wicket-keeper and part of South Africa's leadership core. His acknowledgment comes after a policy change to the limited-overs squads which has seen the gloves taken away from de Villiers to allow him to focus on captaincy.

"I have always felt a bit rushed trying to captain the side and keep wicket," de Villiers said ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand in Paarl. "I will probably stand at mid-off and be able to communicate with my bowlers a lot better as well as get a better perspective of the game."

De Villiers latest statement contrasts with his assessment of his own handling of the triple task the last time South Africa played limited-overs cricket, at the World Twenty20 in September. De Villiers required three weeks rest after the tournament after he aggravated his chronic back condition during the tour of England and the ICC event.

Despite the recurrence of the injury, de Villiers insisted he was not paying the price for taking on too much. "I don't believe there is too much on my plate; I really enjoy the captaincy and batting and keeping. It's what I am going to do," he said, while even going as far as to say he would continue in all three roles irrespective of the effect it had. "If I miss out on a year of my career, so be it."

Since that tournament, de Villiers has played five Test matches for South Africa and one domestic 50-over match. De Villiers complained of a tired body after turning out for his franchise, the Titans in the one-day cup playoff. He scored a hundred in a losing cause that day but was so worn out from the cumulative effects of that match after a Test series that he to be rested from the three-match T20 series against New Zealand, a request which was granted.

In that time, de Villiers also "changed his mind," according to convenor of selectors Andrew Hudson about 'keeping at Test level. When de Villiers was required to take over from Mark Boucher in and emergency situation in England, he was reluctant to become the permanent wicket-keeper. During the third Test against Australia in Perth in early December, Hudson spoke to de Villiers again and he asked if he could continue in the role. The selection panel and team management agreed.

But de Villiers 'keeping at Test level has widespread implications beginning with his own batting. Crouching behind the stumps for extended periods seemed to hinder de Villiers ability to bat with freedom, which South Africa needs him to do. As yet, that theory has not been completely disproved. The 169 he blazed at the WACA came after he was in the field for three overs more than an ODI. Even against New Zealand, where he scored two half-centuries, periods on the park were minimal thanks to the visitor's short batting time.

It has been enough to convince the powers that be, though and de Villiers will continue as Test wicket-keeper but in order do that, he has had to give up the gloves in shorter formats. Quinton de Kock did the job in the T20s and will do in the ODIs, to allow de Villiers time to develop his leadership style, 18 months after taking over the job.

De Kock's selection is also a means to ensure de Villiers' back can be rested, although how much it will be questionable. Gary Kirsten revealed yesterday that de Villiers finds keeping in 50-overs "more intense," than in a Test. Previously de Villiers went on record saying he found it harder on his body to be in the outfield - where he will now prowl - than to keep wicket.

After the three ODIs, it may be clearer which discipline takes greater toll on de Villiers because his back can be compared to the way it felt after the World T20. Should de Villiers first guess be correct and he comes out worse, he may have to consider 'keeping again which will require another rethink of South Africa's limited-overs policy. Should he cope well with fielding again, it could open up another option for South Africa at Test level, the specialist wicket-keeper, should they require it.

As a result, the debate over South Africa's wicket-keeping options is far from closed. Life after Boucher was always going to be uncertain because of the poor planning that preceded it. Even as Boucher's form dipped, no clear attempts were made to identify or groom a successor.

At that time, de Villiers himself distanced himself from wicket-keeping permanently as he confirmed his career goal was simply to become the best batsman in the world. Recently, he has spoken of his desire to improve his wicket-keeping, to captain the side as best he can and to contribute with the bat.

To change one's mind or expand one's goals is only natural, for the administrators to accommodate that if it works with their team plans is also understandable but it all points to an obvious question that must be asked soon: when does too much room for individual flexibility cause too much disruption to the team's needs?

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 20, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

@Ryan Stephen & LillianThomson:

What happened brothers? You ppl not building on your +5/-5 argument? It looked Ryan was saying it was statistically proven after he'd checked his stats.

And Lillian, what about you? You not saying anything more about your hypothesis? Are you now willing to concede that your hypothesis has little factual basis? Or do you still insist?

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 19, 2013, 22:07 GMT)

@Ryan Stephen:

Is it really statistically proven? Did you even check the facts?

Since 1 Jan 1990:

Asia (Ind/Pak/SL/BD/UAE) --- 311 Mat 298772 Runs @ Avg of 31.88 --- Eng/Aus/SA/NZ ---------------- 475 Mat 460588 Runs@ Avg of 31.08

I leave it to you and LillianThomson to see if this proves what your hypothesis. (I am sure you will latch on to the diff of 0.8 :-p)

Take Care.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 19, 2013, 21:43 GMT)

On a diff note, this issue of ABD can't be compared to MSD but the reason is that keeping was a natural thing for MS while ABD was a batsman who could keep wickets at times and thus wasn't all that used to to play as a regular keeper for a long time. When anyone is made to do a job that doesn't come naturally to them or to which they are not used to, they will feel a bit rushed or stretched too much. I guess for SA ABD the batsman is much more imp than ABD the keeper-batsman. ABD will have an even more imp role to play in the future now that Kallis will retire in the next 12-18 months or so....

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 15:34 GMT)

SwamiCricketanand: "If Llilian Thomson had his/her way, then SA would be the unchallenged and numero Uno side of all times!!!!"

Lillian Thomson is not South African. What's happening here is all too typical. People bring arguments against SA players that are so blatantly biased that we have non-South Africans jumping to our defence, only for everyone to mock them for being die-hard SA fans, which in fact they are not.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 15:26 GMT)

@Harmony111 "Your argument is completely subjective. Why should batting on an Asian wicket be deemed easier than on Eng/SA/Aus/NZ wickets?"

It is statistically proven.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 19, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

@mahjut: Yes, disappointing batting peformance - actually a bit surprised to see them scrape over 200! Still, a good start with 2 quick wickets and better to watch the bowlers and fielders under pressure than a non-contest like the first T20.

Posted by mahjut on (January 19, 2013, 11:36 GMT)

Surly, i have never taken part in a debate with a written piece of work ... I debate with other posters, like yourself (and enjoy doing so) ...which, of course, you have done, very logically, since backing up - with sound arguments - your initially unsupported assertion. ---> be interesting to see if the bowlers can defend this total (certainly hope so!) ...

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 19, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

@LillianThomson:

Your argument is completely subjective. Why should batting on an Asian wicket be deemed easier than on Eng/SA/Aus/NZ wickets? Batting on a wicket where the ball keeps low and spins a lot is by no means easier than batting on a wicket where the ball bounces and swings/seams a lot. Both are places where the batsmen need to show skill & application.

Secondly, suppose Asian wickets indeed are easier (for the sake of argument). Why this +5/-5 then? why not +2/-2? What's the basis of choosing this figure of 5?

3rdly, by your own yardstick, the Fast bowlers of Eng/SA/Aus/NZ should get their records adjusted too, right?

4thly, by your own yardstick, the spinners of Ind/Pak/SL should get even more + points cos they have to bowl and take wickets in these DAMN EASY batting conditions.

5thly, Barring Amla & to some extent Kallis & now Cook - why do most Eng/Aus/SA/NZ batsmen have poor/avg records in EASY Asia?

For eg Ponting avgs 38 in Asia yet SRT avgs 50+ in Eng/Aus/SA/NZ.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 19, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

@Harmony111 You can't just say that "50" is a cut-off point for gauging batting quality by averages.

Firstly, you need to add around 5 runs to Test averages of players from England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand due to the more challenging conditions and subtract 5 from other countries - so a South African average of 49 is comparable to an Indian average of 59.

Secondly, you need to ensure that 3rd and 4th innings performances are good enough. de Villiers averages 40 in the 3rd innings and 42 in the 4th innings, whereas Tendulkar averages 47 in the 3rd innings but only 37 in the 4th innings. That illustrates what we really know - Tendulkar was much the more talented batsman but de Villiers has always had a better temperament in a crisis.

Posted by mahjut on (January 19, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Surly, yes, i have heard someone in a debate say their opinion was logical but never to open the debate by effectively asserting the there is no debate and the logic is already monopolised (well, not seriously anyway) ... the recognition of the two opposing proposals must be tabled first [your 'logic' did not recognise any other ...at the time you presented it]. I think you reach too many conclusion from what you "believe" I feel which is why you assume when i talk about shifting truths it translates as AB lying. but the truths [facts, if you prefer] have shifted, he was not able to keep at test level due to chronic back pain, then was able, he is quoted as saying "I don't believe there is too much on my plate; I really enjoy the captaincy and batting and keeping. It's what I am going to do,", that changed too ... that you believe him is worth something, not all posters agree which is hardly surprising - unanimity is not easy to achieve. He seems an honest if fickle fellow

Posted by mahjut on (January 19, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Surley ... this is a summary of an unpublished post: ""noone has ever suggested Tsolekile will play as he's not a boundary hitter. Tsolekile is the test backup. Please stop conflating the two issues."" You have mistakenly assumed I have been responding only to you but there are one, if not more, people here calling for de Kock to be 7th TEST bat. wherever you see 'conflation' i assure you there is none: all reference to de kock is in reference to him taking Thami's so-called test back-up spot and ALL reference to good seasons or quoting of stats ONLY refer to FC matches - there is NO confusion. The other issue you raise is me being disingenuous in my well-wishes to de kock...but, i must ask that you back that up by quoting ANYTHING i've said that would suggest i wish ANY saffer player anything but the best!! you may misinterpret a (slightly exaggerated) passionate presentation of Thami as ill-will towards his competitors but misinerpretation that would surly be!!

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 19, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

@LillianThomson:

While I do feel ABD has the potential to become the best batsman in the world and is indeed a gem of a batsman and a great treat to watch, to call him a top cricketer on the basis of his avg really weakens his case. I thought 50+ was the gold standard in Tests to separate the Grade 1 batsmen from the other. Thus, on this basis ABD doesn't pass the muster. Mind you, I like ABD a lot and I know he is indeed a top class batsmen but I won't use his avg as a basis for this.I'd used some other parameter.

And then you compare MS/ABD with football players who play just 1 format for their clubs/countries?

Need I remind you that MS has won 2 World Cups? On that basis ABD comes no where close to MS nor is ABD's record comparable to MS in ODIs - but why would you care? For you ODIs and T20s are lesser forms and not different forms...

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 19, 2013, 8:38 GMT)

@SurlyCynic I don't think my comments contradicted themselves.

The 97-98 and 06-07 South Africa v Pakistan Test series were very close, low-scoring affairs.

I think Pakistan's batting is significantly inferior to South Africa's, but their bowling attack is approximately the same in quality as South Africa's in the absence of Asif and Amir and would have been markedly superior if they hadn't got themselves banned by their greed and stupidity.

Junaid / Irfan / Gul / Ajmal is a strong looking attack.

Asif / Amir / Junaid / Ajmal would be a pretty much unbeatable attack.

Yes, South Africa may well win the series 3-0 because I can't see Pakistan scoring more than 450 runs in any given Test across 2 innings. But if Pakistan win the toss at The Wanderers and Newlands and then bowl well they could actually sneak the series.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 19, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

@LillianThomson: I enjoyed that 'prediction', thanks. So Pakistan haven't played enough warmup matches (like every team these days) and SA could win 3-0. Or SA could be 55-6 by lunch on Day 1 and the series could be close.

SA are lucky that two of Pakistan's good bowlers are out. But, er, Pakistan will be fielding a brilliant bowling attack.

I guess whatever happens you'll be telling us 'I told you so'!

Posted by PRAMOD_2012 on (January 19, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

AB is a great player, South Africa Cricket board must take care of him. He is fantastic and off course my hero.

Posted by keviv on (January 19, 2013, 6:21 GMT)

@ LillianThomson , dont be too harsh on MS, he is the one who won us the WC..I ve highest regards to AB but MS is the best..AB is yet to win a major tournament mind you.. MS has already taken the toll n still continues to perform when his whole team is in out of form..

Posted by CricketBirbal on (January 19, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

If Llilian Thomson had his/her way, then SA would be the unchallenged and numero Uno side of all times!!!!

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 5:06 GMT)

Now I see how Dhoni's adapting .... :-|

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 5:01 GMT)

What about Dhoni, does he feel pressure with this 3-role responsibility? He is keeping and leading as well and of course batting from the front line by setting example! Being not an expert in cricket, I dont see much burden in this roles. May be communicating with the bowlers may be an issue. Goodluck AB!

Posted by Robster1 on (January 19, 2013, 4:57 GMT)

Quelle surprise - as ever Moonda cannot resist trying to play the Tsolekile card. Do please give it a rest now. De Kock is a quite outstanding all round talent who should be given ample time to establish himself as SA's keeper/batsman for the next decade and a half.

Posted by AJAYs_PyrotechniXX on (January 19, 2013, 4:39 GMT)

No offense to AB but this just goes to show how incredible a cricketer MS Dhoni is. He too could've made the side as a batsman alone in ODIs but never has he blamed lack of form or bad runs on his added responsibilities.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

I think AB is confused a bit.He is not able to assess his own body and its dynamics.If he keeps wicket, it gives option to the team to include another batsman in the team.As far as Test cricket is concerned, a specialist wicketkeeper is required.You can't continue too long with make shift arrangement. In one day cricket and T20 cricket , where playing with a right combination is critical , AB as a Wicketkeeper can give options to team management to include extra batter or bowler or all rounder. However, surprisingly, AB thinks exactly the opposite.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 19, 2013, 3:45 GMT)

@ TommytuckerSaffa I'd go easy on the triumphalism if I were you. South Africa is number 1 in the rankings by a whisker, and you're about to encounter a Pakistan team whose Board has elected not to play enough side matches in SA for their batsmen to adapt to the bounce and carry. So you might well win easily.

You'll probably beat Pakistan in the home Test series and lose away to them in the UAE in October, judging by your spin "attack". Dodging Amir and Asif will certainly help: with them in the Pakistan team you'd probably have lost both series!

But while you may well win 3-0 at home, be careful. If you bat first at The Wanderers you'll be facing a 7 foot tall guy bowling 145K (Irfan), a superb left-arm swing bowler (Junaid), the world's best old-ball bowler (Gul) and the world's best spinner (Ajmal). There is fair old chance that South Africa is going to be 55-6 by lunch on Day 1 at The Wanderers and that the series will be a close one.

Posted by dalboy12 on (January 19, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

i've said a lot and will ask again --- how many players if any have been able to bat in the top 5 and keep wicket in test matches over a long time period. In the end they all seem to have to give the keeping up. SA have the depth to look after AB --- and being the player that he is, is just makes good sense that they do.

Posted by TATTUs on (January 19, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

At least this better for AB the batsman. Lets face it. AB is not a keeper. He is a good captain, to be a great batsman, but certainly not a good WK.

Posted by class9ryan on (January 19, 2013, 2:16 GMT)

AB surely decided 2 keep keeping in mind that he would not have 2 captain the test side... But Captaincy, batting, keeping has taken a toil on him and I think we will see him wicket keeping again in the ICC tournaments

Posted by jmcilhinney on (January 19, 2013, 1:21 GMT)

Of course AB said that he wasn't overburdened. Cricketers and administrators the world over are always going to toe the line in public statements, which is why they always have to be taken with a grain of salt. If he was overburdened then he would take it up with the administration first, get it sorted and then go public, which is exactly what has happened. I can't help feeling that SA will end up going the specialist keeper route in Tests at some point in the not too distant future. This discussion really does put MS Dhoni's performance into perspective. That said, Dhoni's performance as both captain and batsman in Test cricket lately is nothing to write home about. He does very well in limited-overs cricket in all disciplines though. With all that he does and the added pressure of doing it in India though, I expect to see him keel over from a stroke any day though.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (January 19, 2013, 0:20 GMT)

I feel sorry for AB. He wasn't that much worse a wicket keeper than Boucher but had to work on his batting so much just to make the side. Finally, he gets the chance to do what he loves, to keep wicket for his country, but the catch was that he was still required to bat in the top 4, and to captain. It would have been nice if he had been allowed to slot down at number 7, not been captain, and just kept. Anyway, de Kock looks like an amazing prospect and it is good to see him given a chance.

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 18, 2013, 23:52 GMT)

Firstly, I respect de Villiers as a true team man, who tries to do the best thing for his side. Secondly, he is one of the greatest batsmen under the age of 30 that I've ever seen.

But it's a really big ask to have a player perform both as keeper and a top-class batsmen, as Sangakkara has shown, as did the massive decline in Gilchrist's batting consistency after around 5 years of his Test career. The evidence available seems to show that there is an obvious short-term gain, but the player's batting declines somewhat and his career is shortened.

And SA has two brilliant options. Tsolekile is a decent enough player, and would help take cricket to the African masses with obvious long-term rewards. And de Kock is the best 20 year-old wicketkeeper-batsman I've ever seen. Do they really need to risk de Villiers by overworking him?

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 18, 2013, 23:05 GMT)

@MCSJCW: My god you link the various events quite well there but I don't think these players would do anything like this. I mean this world is sometimes a bad place to live but surely we can't be so cynical about what goes on around us. ABD, MB were and are talented ppl of high integrity and so are Tsolkile D'kock. Let's hope (in fact I am sure) it wasn't like this and the reality is just what it seems.....

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 18, 2013, 22:34 GMT)

Lets me honest, AB didnt choose, he was told to drop the gloves, thats because he needs to focus on his batting and captaining which is the correct decision.

With talent like de kock coming in, the cupboard is really full. Friends, we are very fortunate in SA to have such talent, Australia on the otherhand is far less fortunate, forced to to pick 'B' grade keepers like Wade and fast bowling spinners like Lyon. How long will SA and England stay top of the pops ?! Could be years by the looks of things....stay tuned.

Posted by mahjut on (January 18, 2013, 22:13 GMT)

Surley, your "knowing" would ring a little more true if you had not indicated the exact opposite by declaring it "logical" NOT to keep and captain, and by saying so (and not acknowledging the many past ones) you omitted the whole concept of keeper-captain. Debate in itself suggests a battle of two reasonably equal but opposite ideas [this precludes one side owning the logic, and it seemed YOU were pretending the debate had not occurred]. Unfortunately those debates may have raged to apocalyptic proportions but the evidence that they never settled on a definitive conclusion is the fact that there were and have been not just one or two captains who have kept wicket, there have been a fair few...I simply mentioned all who came to mind - of course, that meant i probably missed some, like Dravid, who has since been acknowledged (and i just stuck to Tests)

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 18, 2013, 22:01 GMT)

This is tough on AB de Villiers but it just goes to show what a fighter he is. His passion for the game and motivation to win the iis evident by him trying to take on all these roles, and provides just the kind of leadership South Africa need at this time. Great Cricketer.

Posted by mahjut on (January 18, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

staalburger...some good points you got going there...backed up with thoughtful supporting arguments :D. So, at 20 years old and some 17 FC matches in and you have de Kock's talent bagged (I remember the drooling talk of Rossouw's, Imraan's spinning, Parnell's talent ...) in fact Thami's talent must have been talked about with the same breathlessness you refer to de kock: ""At Pinelands, Tsolekile broke almost every existing Cape Town schoolboy cricket record, many of them set a few years previously by Jacques Kallis."". - aahh, youth!! [and a "talented" enough sportsman to have already represented SA in another discipline - hockey] back that up with two very solid FC seasons with the bat, including a 2011/12 season ave of 59 and he is ABSOLUTELY a first choice Test back up to AB ... really, it seems ""Only people that either know nothing of cricket or those with a racial agenda can suggest ...""- that's your stick, be careful with it ;)

Posted by MCSJCW on (January 18, 2013, 21:53 GMT)

Is it coincidence that while Boucher was in the picture, AB had a sore back and did not want to be keeper but as soon as Boucher was retired, his back was miraculously cured and he wanted to be keeper? Was it protecting Boucher's position in the team? If it was, it cost SA for at least 3 years when Boucher was quite obviously not performing as a world class wick/bat and trying to bat at number 7.

Now,, is it coincidence that as soon as Thami is out of he picture and dekock is in line, his back is sore again and he cant handle all 3. Hmmm

I get the feeling the players are calling he shots and not the team management.

Posted by Dale_Pain on (January 18, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

Tsolekile is the best glovesman in the country - that much is undisputed. In terms of batting, he averages 44 over last 3 years in FC matches. Now that he has changed his stance and sorted his balance he is a decent batsman. He should have been given a go in tests not ODIs though

Posted by gibbs.175 on (January 18, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

I pray to GOD for De kock to play in SA squads ...GOOD luck ...

Posted by ygkd on (January 18, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

AB de Villiers is a good keeper. However, he shows good leadership too and he's even better with the bat. That's why he shouldn't be burdened with the gloves too often. Sometimes it isn't about whether or not someone can do something, but whether or not it's in their and their team's best interests. He can't be all three things at once. It is asking too much of the bloke.

Posted by sirviv on (January 18, 2013, 20:54 GMT)

Does that mean the next in line will be the Tsolkeile bloke or are there others in contest for the keeper position

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 18, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

AB is really so gentleman.He is one of the best example of Team and Crisis Player.Love You ABDV...

Posted by quittthewhinging on (January 18, 2013, 20:37 GMT)

@ mahjut. Yeah, Rossouw really is a stylish left-hander but his own worst enemy. Seems incapable of listening to advice. Last time I saw him interviewed he said he plays cricket "his way". Looks like the selectors are no longer interested in him. Such a pity.

Posted by Dickmeister on (January 18, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

It seems rather convenient that as soon as Thami Tsolekile is removed from the equation AB de Villiers deems it a detriment to his batting and captaincy to continue with the keeping job. Bearing in mind that he was reluctant at the start of his career to keep wicket, wanted the job when Boucher became injured, and now gave it up, SA cricket is being very tolerant of his picking and choosing. I doubt whether he would have been afforded this luxury had he been an Australian.

Nothing against de Kock, in fact, I would have preferred he be chosen ahead of Thami to be contracted as he is a better long term prospect, but the way in which. Tsolekile has been treated after the assurances given to him is disgraceful. Andrew Hudson, Gary Kirsten, AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith have a lot to answer for.

Posted by AA77 on (January 18, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

It's evident that ABDV's time in gloves was a stop gap for QDK - but it's still a while before QDK can step up to test level - it may have been an opportunity to give TT a run .. I think most - if not all - folk would like to see ABDV bat and only bat - seems a terrible waste of talent and time.

Posted by Yevghenny on (January 18, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

ab's one of the top batsmen in the world, never liked seeing him behind the stumps incase it had an impact on his form

Posted by StaalBurgher on (January 18, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

Tsolekile is NOT a viable option. de Kock is a far more talented player. Only people that either know nothing of cricket or those with a racial agenda can suggest Tsolekile as a "option".

Posted by mahjut on (January 18, 2013, 19:29 GMT)

I genuinely hope de Kock proves more robust than Rossouw who also came thumping onto the scene averaging over 65-odd in his debut season.

Posted by Hardy1 on (January 18, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

It's essential that he's handled properly because this guy's one of (if not) the biggest talents in cricket. It'd be great to see him back in the field too.

@ DeckChairand6pack, if ODI cricket really does end within 10 years and SA haven't won the World Cup by then, you'd still have to say England would be the best team to have never won the world cup considering the 3 finals they got to & lost when SA haven't even made one yet (granted apartheid and all but still).

Posted by mahjut on (January 18, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

i can offer little more than a knowing smile at this ... so, 'logically', de Kock gets his International chance and Thami gets no second bite. In the last decade or so - aberrations in logic have seen Alec Stewart, Moin Khan, Ridley Jacobs, Flower, Taibu, Dhoni, Gilchrist, Sanga, possibly Macullum (?) - just off the top of my head - mange a stint at captaining with gloves on. Firdose, I'm not sure i agree with your conclusion that AB should give up the gloves but admire the way you adapt your questioning to the shifting truths of the situation...

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 18, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

The way is being nicely paved for quinton de kock. In test cricket SAs batting top 6 is so strong do they really need a 7th batsman? And if de kock had that spot would they really loose that much? I don't think so.

Posted by tententen on (January 18, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

devilliers is to SA what dravid was to india 7-8 years ago. he should quit keeping in tests. tsolikile is a viable option. or else he should take lessons from Dhoni.

Posted by riverbaby11 on (January 18, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

seems like AB or the team mgmt never thought Thami was a good replacement..

Posted by pull_shot on (January 18, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

well that really helps ab's test bating and good for him and his team as he is terrific fielder

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 18, 2013, 18:08 GMT)

After AB scored a century in Perth, this author wrote an article asking whether AB had 'sacrificed too much for the team' (and should give up the gloves).

Now this article states that he is 'disrupting' the team (and should give up the gloves).

So which is it?

Posted by   on (January 18, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

ABdV is such an exceptional player, you have to excuse him changing his mind a few times. Yeah I know Hash doesn't pull these things but AB does and we have to live with it.

Long-term replacement at international levels should be de Kock. A decent batsman in LO games, he can surely make the step up, as Boucher did at a similar age, to Test level. Thami is to Quinton as Steve Palframan was to Mark Boucher.

Posted by DeckChairand6pack on (January 18, 2013, 17:45 GMT)

This is good news! AB keeping in the tests and the resulting 7 man batting line up and 5 quality bowlers is the envy of world cricket. This needs to be protected and managed and as a result I've no problem with letting someone else take the gloves in the ODI's.

One day cricket is in terminal decline and I am going to stick my neck out and say that the proteas will become the greatest team never to have won the world cup once this format is terminated in 10 years or less.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 18, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

At every stage AB has done what is best for the team, including when he was asked to take the gloves. Compare that to others around the world in similar situations (McCullum, Sangakarra). I find it amazing that he is criticised for 'disrupting' the team.

He finds it difficult to captain from behind the stumps. That is logical. He is not the test captain.

If his century in Perth was due to him not keeping for long, why didn't he score massive hundreds in the tests prior to that when SA batted first? The reality is he had a technical issue with his footwork which he was gradually resolving, something Kepler Wessels analysed in great detail. It would be good to hear more on these technical aspects, and fewer strawman arguments about keeping and batting.

Posted by tally1983 on (January 18, 2013, 17:24 GMT)

shame, he is a really good keeper aswell. just shows how good dhoni has been really........................

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