South Africa news January 24, 2013

Kirsten unsure on de Villiers' future

ESPNcricinfo staff

South Africa coach Gary Kirsten says he is undecided on whether AB de Villiers will return as wicketkeeper in one-day cricket.

De Villiers hinted that he is overburdened with captaincy and keeping wicket but Kirsten said that no final decision has been taken on who will take the gloves in one-day cricket moving forward.

"In terms of our situation with AB, it's more exploratory," Kirsten said in a wide-ranging press conference. "We are going through a phase of exploring and understanding his keeping. We haven't closed the door on whether he will become our one-day keeper."

De Villiers has been South Africa's wicketkeeper in all forms since Mark Boucher was forced to retire from an eye injury sustained in a tour match in England last summer. But Quinton de Kock, at just 20 years old, was brought in to keep wicket for the current series against New Zealand.

"The decision not to keep in this one-day series was a very specific decision which wasn't his own," Kirsten explained. "He is not making his own decisions. There is a process we go through in the team. Individuals don't just stand up and make their own calls. We felt that it might be a good idea for this series specifically that AB had an opportunity to focus on his captaincy. He is a young captain and there is a lot to do on the field."

De Villiers' opportunity to captain without the responsibility of keeping was cut short by his suspension for a drastically slow over rate in the first ODI in Paarl meaning he was banned from the final two matches of the series. Kirsten expressed his disappointment that such a calamitous mistake has cost de Villiers the chance to try out a new role ahead of the Champions Trophy in June.

"I had a concern right from the outset when I spoke to the selectors that doing the job of batting at No. 4, captaining and keeping was going to be really tough on him. He was happy to do it. He is always happy to do it. I just felt I would like to see him focus on his captaincy so it is really unfortunate what has unfolded where he is missing two games and is not able to gain more experience in his captaincy."

De Villiers will return to the South African side for the start of the Pakistan series on February 1. Kirsten was unsure whether de Villiers would come straight back as wicketkeeper.

"We are thinking where we want to go long-term," Kirsten said. "If you look at the Test team: it's foolproof in many ways although we have brought in a lot of new players. I don't want to make rushed decisions.

"The one nice thing about AB not keeping is that it has given us the opportunity to explore another young talent in Quinton de Kock. He has done a good job behind the stumps and has shown real potential with the bat. There's been a lot of talk about him and it's nice that he has been given an opportunity at a higher level."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sohan on January 26, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Sanga did it for years, MSD has been doing it for years....buck up AB!!

  • Harmon on January 26, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @quittthewhinging: I will release it when Kallis wins a WC for SA. Oops, sounds like a long wait. ABD or Amla's careers may have one so let's see.

    Btw, I do like and really admire ABD and Kallis and other SA folks but when some ppl do needless and outrageous comparisons then I got to show them the mirror at times.

  • niaz on January 26, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    Kallis vs Sachin.. for tests I would always take Kallis..

    In ODI, I am not sure I appreciate his approach all the time. Its not that he does not have shots, sometimes he does not play his game early. Kallis is a great ODI bowler.

    SA almost lost this match by being too slow and makes the easier match a tough one.

  • Ivan on January 26, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    @ Harmony111. When is your next book due? I'd like to order a copy in advance so I don't miss out.

  • Harmon on January 26, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    @C.A-SA1987: For starters, just tell me what is the record of Kallis in the premier competition of ODIs - the WC and then tell me what is the record of Sachin there. Do I need to remind you of the awesome knock Kallis players in WC 2007 vs Aus when everyone around him scored at breakneck pace but Kallis played at his own pace unaware of the match situation and broke the momentum of the chase? The person you called as better failed to perform in the most coveted tournament in the world and yet ... Ha Ha.

    Kallis is neither a Great batsman not a Great bowler. His value is that he is both, that's it. Do you recall even a single memorable knock by Kallis? Do you recall even a single memorable bowling performance by Kallis? What is his S/R and what sort of impact will a player make at that S/R? How many titles has Kallis won for SA? How many runs has Kallis scored at what avg at what S/r in tournament finals?

    Kallis is not within parsecs of Sachin on these regards. Better in every aspect!!

  • Harmon on January 26, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    Those who are asking why India or MSD is being mentioned in this article, well, India has not been mentioned directly here firstly and secondly, MSD has been mentioned here cos he is an apt comparison to ABD's case here. Wasn't Kallis mentioned a number of times when Watson said he will henceforth play as a batsman only cos the extra work load of being a bowler was beyond him?

    And no fan (Ind or otherwise) even remotely made any adverse comment on ABD the batsman or on his record. The comparison was only regarding the workloads of ABD and MSD and how they were handling it. It got a twist when some ppl here made some comments on MSD's batting etc.

    If some ppl can see a straight comparison and want to talk about who avgs how much at what batting slot then why blame the Ind fans who very naturally and reflexively had initially talked of the workload but are now seeing it getting reduced to a needless battle of avgs & runs and Rating Points of a Top batsman & a Top Captain?

  • THEJUS on January 26, 2013, 6:19 GMT should start watching performance of other players before commenting..dhonis average is soared up by notouts because he comes to bat at 6 - 7 position while ABD bats at 4... even then ABD has an avg 48+.. if we remove the not outs ABD averages much more than MSD..ABD is much better test batsmen... Dhoni has kept wickets from school level itself but ABD took wicketkeeping like Dravid for the sake of team..I have all respect for MSD and he is doing great job for india in ODIS..but ABD is another class of batsmen..

  • Harmon on January 26, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    @syed.r.karim: Ppl have been begging MS to come up the order so that he can get more overs to score runs and a better chance to decide the tempo of his and Ind's innings but he has refused saying Ind needs someone in the lower order at the need of the innings esp while chasing. I don't know what sacrifice ABD has made cos he can't open anyways and he has better batsmen in Amla and Kallis above him there so it's not that he had a chance there.

    In any case, MS avgs more than ABD at #1, #2, #3 and #4 so your point that MS scores runs only when the ball is not moving falls flat and actually shows ABD in relatively poor light. Just days back MS scored a fab 100 vs Pak when they were making the ball to talk vs Ind top order.

    Thus your two points are both rebutted here. MSD avgs more than ABD as a top order batsman and he not only survived the moving ball but went on to score a 100 and nearly destroyed the same bowlers in the end overs.

  • Kan on January 26, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    His keeping has got nothing with captaincy. The slain fact is that Ab is no captain material.He should bat at no.4, give the gloves to Quinton who has already shown potential and most importantly captain's arm band to Faf. Captaincy seems to be his element.

  • Prinesh on January 26, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    @Posted by quittthewhinging on (January 25 2013, 21:53 PM GMT)

    Totally agree about De Kock. Gary just needs to ensure that he is properly managed and that his role in the team is clearly defined.

    As for the random indian comments about MSD. Yup, they are incredibly annoying because no mention is made of India or MSD in this article.

    But ag, when Tendulkar retires and they go on about how great he is, you can be assured that i will be there in full force, advocating that Jacques Kallis is in every aspect, a better player.

    That should result in some interesting debate:-)

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