South Africa news

Kirsten unsure on de Villiers' future

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 24, 2013

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

AB de Villiers works with the gloves, Cape Town, December 29, 2012
AB de Villiers' future with the gloves is uncertain © Gallo Images

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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Sohansunny on (January 26, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

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

Posted by Harmony111 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.

Posted by bhaloniaz 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.

Posted by quittthewhinging 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.

Posted by Harmony111 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!!

Posted by Harmony111 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?

Posted by Thejus_r 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..

Posted by Harmony111 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.

Posted by KanAloshFozter 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.

Posted by C.A-SA1987 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:-)

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 26, 2013, 2:46 GMT)

@Greatest_Game: Assuming that the nos you gave are correct, tell me, do you compare players for their peaks or for their avgd agg performances?

Posted by syed.r.karim on (January 26, 2013, 2:39 GMT)

@Akhter786 & @Greatest_Game : I don't like the statistics to identify a batsman quality. Though Dhoni have a good average in ODI he was never been a quality batsman. He doesn't have the best technique to play top blowers in tough condition; he batted at no. 6, and can only score where the ball is not moving or seeming. Villiers have lots of runs when be open the innings, but in presents of Amla he had to bat at no. 4. I never saw a player like Villiers who can sacrifice his talent to progress other players like Mark Boucher and Hasim Amla.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 25, 2013, 22:11 GMT)

@ Akhter786 on (January 25 2013, 02:15 AM GMT) You say that Dhoni "is a far better batsman in ODI n T20 s than AB." Really? Then why is AB currently ranked higher than Dhoni as an ODI batsman?

AB highest ODI batting rating, 852, is higher than Dhoni's highest ever at 836!

Dhoni's highest T20 batting rating is 512 points. AB's is higher, at 571.

On the all time ODI and T20 ratings, AB is higher than MSD. You obviously don't know what you are taking about

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

This is an article about Kirsten's views on whether AB should continue to keep in the ODIs. Well, Gary, in case you haven't noticed, we now have a very able replacement in Quentin de Kock who not only keeps as well as AB, doesn't have a dodgy back and is a good batsman too. Good enough to open the innings in the ODI's. He looked perfectly at home in putting on 83 for the first wicket with Smith today. I don't want to start any arguments here but do Indian posters realize just how annoying it is for others to have them continually take over the comments even when India is not involved in the game. This article was NOT about Dhoni!! Please take note.

Posted by Temuzin on (January 25, 2013, 18:43 GMT)

Yeah I think AB should play only as a batsman in the team, He is a great batsman. He should not be burdened with captaincy and keeping or else SA risk of losing him. Remember everybody is not Dhoni and Gary Kirsten knows that. Dhoni is extremely special player who is carrying the load of all three formats by keeping captaining and batting. Boycott is DAMN right when he said "India is DAMN lucky to have Dhoni".

Posted by anilk2100 on (January 25, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

simple is that AB is not a captain material, if he feels burden then he should not be a captain, feeling burden shows immaturity in him as a leader.

Posted by NikhilNair on (January 25, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

As I was reading the article, I kept thinking of what MSD has done for India over the past several years. Keeping wickets, captaining, performing on a consistent basis for both CSK and India! Then there's the pressure of Indian public, who wants his head if the team is on a loosing streak! No wonder his hair is greying already lol. Anyways, regarding AB... I think it would be sensible to let AB just be a batsman and captain. I think he'll perform much better if there is no pressure of keeping.

Posted by chintu_srikanth on (January 25, 2013, 16:21 GMT)

i agree with ABD.... he is the most talented batsmen in the world, there is a danger of losing his career earlier because of so much stress... so better he should leave keeping and concentrate on captaincy and batting....

Posted by anilk2100 on (January 25, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

simple is that AB is not a captain material, if he feels burden then he should not be a captain, feeling burden shows immaturity in him as a leader.

Posted by jayray999 on (January 25, 2013, 16:03 GMT)

@inswing: "AB is more like Sanga than Dhoni. A front line batsman." Except Dhoni's ODI average (52.11) is better than Sangakkara's (38.56) and de Villiers's (48.82). So what are you talking about?

Posted by Selassie-I on (January 25, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

ABDV - not been a captain much in his career, not kept too much, SA's best fielder, one of the top 10 batsmen in the world, has a dodgy back - this all really begs the question of why is he captain and why is he Keeper.

If he buggers his back up keeping (Especially in tests) then SA have lost a great player. Althogh this does give them a huge advantage of being able to play someone like duminy at no.7, maybe he should just keep against the big teams and be given a break against the teams SA would expect a victory against.

Posted by Temuzin on (January 25, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

@ Backwardpoint, Really Dhoni is not a consistent performer. I mean really? Dhoni has been ODI ICC cricketer of the year for four consecutive years and has always been in top 10 for most of his career and you say he is not consistent. I guess you may be mixing test and ODIs. Dhoni has made over 7000 runs at an average of over 52 in ODI while keeping wickets and captaining and you are saying he is not consistent. Well I think you need to check the stats again.

Posted by ArnoldVDH on (January 25, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

Comparisons between AB and Dhoni are pointless.

Dhoni has kept all his life - AB hasn't. Dhoni has captained all the teams he's played for - Faf has captained AB at all levels. Makes you wonder why AB is captain now.

Is Dhoni the better batsman - most definitely not.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 25, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

Ppl here should talk highly of ABD cos he indeed is a terrific player but why do some ppl have to talk bad about MSD? If you do a ABD vs MSD comparison then ABD stands no chance whatsoever in front of MSD. MSD is one of the best finishers of the game while ABD still is one of the many who could be the best batsmen of the game. MSD has been keeping wickets, captaining all his teams, scoring runs and more imp winning titles for his teams. There is not a single top thing he hasn't done. From ODI WC to WT20 title to ODI #1 to Test #1 to CLT20 title to IPL titles to Asia Cup, he has won them all. Yes SA too have been doing great in various formats but most will agree that Amla, Kallis, Steyn, Philander have played more substantial and visible roles than ABD in them.

I don't mean to say anything bad for ABD cos I really like him and he could become World's best in 2-3 years. But comparing him to MSD is useless. MSD is miles ahead of him, more load + more titles + more runs @ higher avg.

Posted by ProteaZ on (January 25, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

I can't understand why they keep pushing for De Kock. I'm not saying he's a terrible keeper, just that he seems too green. Seems to be a serious lack of confidence there... I think the team needs Thami Tsolekile - for ODIs and T20s at least. It's time to give this bloke a proper chance. We can't risk AB injuring himself anymore, and De Kock just doesn't seem ready yet.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 25, 2013, 10:23 GMT)

I would like to see AB removed from Keeping all together to focus on batting, fielding and captaincy (if selected). De Kock is the future and a rare talent.

Posted by Deepakrio278 on (January 25, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

The Best batsman in a team can never be keeper or captain,the only two exceptions were Gilly and Ponting. Abde does not need that.Make Faf captain and de kock the keeper,then Ab is back as the star batsman he was...

Posted by Rhygwyn on (January 25, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

You cannot compare Dhoni to AB. Dhoni bats 7 and AB bats 4-5. In addition AB has long standing back issues. Use your heads people.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (January 25, 2013, 9:56 GMT)

If you burden him with WK it would only shorten his career. He is a wonderful batsman and we all want to see him for a long time. Iam sure kirsten will take the right decision.

Posted by Ultimate_Game on (January 25, 2013, 9:12 GMT)

I think SA should relive AB from wicket keeping duties at least from ODI and T20 formats.

Posted by SpottedHyena on (January 25, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

Never quite understood why you'd put your best fielder behind the wicket - would they have used Jonty as a keeper? Me thinks not.

Posted by iameer on (January 25, 2013, 8:39 GMT)

Any comparison with AB and MS is not justified as AB has some serious back issues and if I am correct he has not kept in first class or international cricket for a long while until he started for RSA recently.

Posted by Asim2010 on (January 25, 2013, 7:54 GMT)

I dont understand why AB is blowing this keeping issue out of proportion. He must learn from MS Dhoni, Dhoni is the captain in all 3 formats and he got no problems with captaincy and keeping the wicket. AB only wants to concentrate on his batting, honestly Ab is a good batsmen but not a wolrd class player like Sangakarra, tendulkar and Amla

Posted by backwardpoint on (January 25, 2013, 7:46 GMT)

I agree with most of the comments here - Dhoni and AB are a class apart. Dhoni to be honest has NO class. He only swings the bat and isnt the vital cog in the batting line up. Its good if he performs but the team survives even if he doesnt [forget the last few series though - he is the only consistent performer currently, agreed]. AB is a fantastic batsman... as the comments say - a CLASS apart. And comparing him with Dhoni is way beyond ridiculous... and he is the guy to watch out for apart from Amla... and to an extent Faf. The others are quite old and on their way out - Smith, Kallis et al. And he will need to take care of himself.

Posted by shaww on (January 25, 2013, 7:18 GMT)

as a captain, AB still needs to make some ground. From all the commentary it sounds as tho he needs to work at it ... it's not natural ... which i s'pose in itself should make him give up the role. As a batsman i have no doubt he could become a world best in odi easily. Proteas have always played a VERY conservative cricket. AB was easily our best and consistent 'attacking'(Amla/Kallis are more anchor) batsman which pulled the SA team slightly away from teh traditional conservative approach. Once AB picked up teh gloves the attacking dynamic was removed. In ODI's he should be given more opportunity as captain ... maybe. But the gloves must def'nately GO. I want to see AB's class batting again ... it's been sorely missed.

Posted by philvic on (January 25, 2013, 7:15 GMT)

There is little relationship between being the best team at ODI and winning world cup. SA have been the best team for a long long time in terms of win ratios and yet couldnt win trophy. Now that they look weaker and dont worry too much about the plethora of pointless matches, maybe they will win the few that count. To win world cup, you really only have to win 4 competitive matches in a row which in ODI is as much down to luck as anything else.

Posted by senthil25 on (January 25, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

AB is very Good Player..........but Keeping, Captain & will surely affect is Quality......because Wicket Keeping, Captain & Batsman is God Gift for the maintain that is very difficult, i think Ms Dhoni is done well in that part......i love Ms Dhoni & Sanga Wicket keeping Batsman & Captain. they both done well, but Sanga is not Keeping Rightly Dhoni is best now.....

Posted by Raziulnur on (January 25, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

Comparing Dhoni with ABD. No doubt Dhoni is a better captain in ODIs. But in terms of batting, ABD is much better in Test & in ODI. Dhoni is a very poor captain in Test in fact he doesn't know how to captain and bat in Test. ABD is a better test and ODI batsman.

Posted by ReverseSwingMaster on (January 25, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

Remove AB from keeper in all formats because his batting and captaincy down. He is a class batsmen and great fielder let his bat do the talking.

Posted by shahzadparacha on (January 25, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

Please give AB Devilliers a break. He is a very very good batsman and being a caption also is a pressure job. Try a find out a different keeper for ODIs.

In T20 format ABD is fine but for 50 over format it is not easy.

Posted by rapidstar on (January 25, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

@Zahidul_Mustakim: It is debatable on who takes more pressure .. building vs damage controller. Dhoni proved in both the roles, when he promoted himself to build innings or as a damage controller. He was very successful keeping gloves, scoring as a batsman & captaining in all formats of the game. We should not compare Dhoni with ABD. Dhoni is in a different class.

Posted by Akhter786 on (January 25, 2013, 2:15 GMT)

AB should take inspiration from Dhoni, Who captains India all over and all around ,keeps decently and is a far better batsman in ODI n T20 s than AB.

If u want to be remembered as a great use all ur potentials ,do not skulkaway

that only shows you cant handle too much of pressure

and further if u think u cannot manage it all, just leave keeping or captaincy for once and all!!!!!

i dont understand why is it so whimsical

Posted by LillianThomson on (January 25, 2013, 2:05 GMT)

This interview is fascinating!

We all know that Quinton de Kock will eventually be South Africa's attempt to clone Adam Gilchrist as a sort of latter day "Mini-Me".

We also know that Pakistan are going to be fielding the world's most skilful left-arm quick (Junaid Khan) as well as the tallest and fastest leftie (Irfan). And that Mitchell Johnson gave Dean Elgar a torrid time at Perth recently.

Could it be that South Africa is going to fast-track de Kock into the Test side as early as next Friday? The intention, obviously, would be to let de Villiers concentrate on his batting. But it would be a brave move to throw a 20 year old into the fray in the first half of the home-and-away series which in 2013 will determine the Number 1 Test side.

Posted by MPB84 on (January 24, 2013, 21:22 GMT)

ku_bo just remember what age Mark Boucher entered the international stage @ and his keeping was decent just as De Kock's is but it gradually improved until he was a world class gloveman. De Kock has buckets full of talent with the bat and will only get better as he matures. He is only 20 and I believe the selectors as with Boucher are correct in giving him a chance and "taking the risk" which could lead to a long international career of 10+ years as it did with Boucher. To label him a one-day and T20 player is laughable with a first class average of 59 with 4 hundreds under his belt already at a strike rate of 86 nonetheless which proves as it did with Glichrist that an attacking game can still be very succesful in the longer forms of the game.

Posted by Newlandsfaithful on (January 24, 2013, 20:30 GMT)

I think AB's glove work is better than de Kock's... no problem there. And put in mind the recent de Kock / Cobras incident it may seem that de Kock has a few temperament issues which might really embaress SA one day if he becomes a more permanent fixture in the Proteas side. So AB's my choice for wicketkeeper. That said, I don't think his captaincy is anything to get particularly excited about. I would rather drop him as captain.

Posted by Newlandsfaithful on (January 24, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

The whole SA selection policy at the moment really makes me wonder whether there is any specific focus at all. At the moment the ODI team is in a constant state of flux with experimentation and player management taking precident over form and winning. I noted two years back Kirsten's critique over the SA team selection after the Protea's departure during the world cup at the hands of NZ. Not only has Gary gone against his own sentiments at the time, but he has produced an even weaker team and lost a series at home to the same NZ. I have to say that if there is any killer instinct in the Proteas, any real passion in winning - it begins and ends with Graeme Smith and his captaincy of the test team. Proteas are absolute rubbish at ODIs and T20. Proteas will never, never win a world cup. As for Gary's policy of resting players, it seems absurd that Kallis should be a specialist test and IPL player. That just makes no sense at all. And neither does Gary.

Posted by inswing on (January 24, 2013, 20:18 GMT)

AB is more like Sanga than Dhoni. A front line batsman. Sanga gave up keeping for a good reason. It would be wrong to overburden him if they can find a decent batsman-keeper.

Posted by ku_bo on (January 24, 2013, 20:00 GMT)

Why are we putting unnecessary pressure on AB -he"ll be Dhoni and he said it long ago that he doesnt want to keep wicket whilst Boucher and Mickey Arthur were around. The test wicket keeper should be either Tsolekile, Kuhn. Villas or Smit finish & klaar. de Kock still needs to learn a lot behind the stumps and we are just killing his future--he is a typical one day/T20 player . this is an insult to the keepers I've mentioned above. The selectors must be wise enough to know that. Former keeper Jennings said this before and for Mark to be a mentor is a waste of money for CSA. Why are other positions not having mentors.Something is fishy here but one day it will come out in the open. Once again J.Rudolph is in the squad to play Pakistan. The man has dismally failed even at his franchise today he scored a paultry 4 runs yet he is in. Let him play for his struggling Titans and get back his form. It looks like some players are getting huge favours.Selectors history will judge you!!!!

Posted by bvnathan on (January 24, 2013, 19:45 GMT)

@ThatsJustCricket ... you are right ... M S Dhoni has been doing the multiple roles with commendable effort in all formats of the game ... that too in addition to his role for Chennai Super Kings ... Add to that the unbelievable expectations of the Indian Cricket supporters and public. Kirsten as then head coach of Tema India, has first hand knowledge of what Dhoni has delivered. Hats off to Dhoni, for standing up to such scrutiny over lengthy periods of playing schedule as often determined by the whims and fancies of BCCI ... Well ABD, welcome to world of reality and expectations

Posted by Surajdon9 on (January 24, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

de kock need to get more chance im sure he will be one of the best keeper batsmen of the world all the best de kock

Posted by Zahidul_Mustakim on (January 24, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

@ThatsJustCricket : Dhoni usually comes after the front line batters, at 6 or 7 where he is more of a damage controller or hard hitter. In contrast, AB is a front line batter and most of the time he has to build the innings. That is why pressure is a bit more on AB. Dont think that i m taking away anything from Dhoni, He is really a "special one" and a master at coping with pressure.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (January 24, 2013, 18:13 GMT)

Dhoni is doing the same for India for quite some time now....if he can do it, why not AB?

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