Life finally begins after AB de Villiers
South African cricket fans have had a week or so to digest the fact that AB de Villiers will never play for the Proteas again.
Well, we say never because the Cricket SA press release said as much ahead of the West Indies tour.
“Discussions between AB de Villiers have concluded with the batsman deciding, once and for all, that his retirement will remain final,” read the statement included in the announcement of the red and white ball squads for tours of the West Indies and Ireland.
There had been continuous speculation that “Mr 360”, who retired from international cricket in 2018, would make a return to play in the T20 World Cup, scheduled for India in October and November.
South Africa director of coaching Mark Boucher added fuel to the fire when he said he had several discussions with De Villiers about a comeback and the 37-year-old also indicated during the aborted IPL that he was keen based on form and fitness.
Well, he did blast 207 runs from 126 balls with two 50s at an average of 51.75 and strike rate of 164.28 at the IPL.
Nothing wrong with those stats.
But, when it came to the crunch, De Villiers pulled the plug on the idea.
Boucher alluded to him being concerned about queue-hopping ahead of players who are a part of the system.
Many would agree with that train of thought.
Reports suggest there was another crucial reason for his decision — he might not be keen on having to play all the Proteas’ series heading into the T20 World Cup.
His reputation for picking and choosing which fixtures he wanted to play in still rankles with many.
But, if the CSA statement is to be taken as gospel, there is no need to concern ourselves about matters De Villiers any more when it comes to Proteas selection.
So, let’s draw a line under that one and concentrate on supporting the players who will be trying to help the Proteas back to the summit of world cricket.
Batsmen like Janneman Malan, Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen and Kyle Verreynne are South Africa’s white-ball future.
Newpots Malan and Verreynne are a seriously talented duo.
Both have looked at ease when called upon in their limited ODI appearances of four ODIs each.
Verreynne‚ especially‚ needs to play all four formats sooner rather than later.
He may not have the flamboyance of a De Villiers but he certainly has the potential to become a global superstar.
The tours to the West Indies and Ireland will provide an opportunity for these players to further underline their obvious ability.
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