Cape Town, Aug 14: South Africa cricket captain Faf du Plessis said on Friday that his team will look to explosive batsman AB de Villiers to provide the fireworks at the top of the batting line-up as they gear up for a tilt at a maiden World Twenty20 (T20) title next year.
De Villiers will make his return to Proteas colours in the first T20 game against New Zealand on Saturday, having missed the One-Day Intertiols and Test portions of South Africa’s tour of Bangladesh due to the birth of his first child.
Du Plessis confirmed that de Villiers would open the innings alongside Hashim Amla - as he did in the two T20s against Bangladesh last month - and he will also take over wicketkeeping duties after gloveman Quinton de Kock was dropped from South Africa’s limited overs squad following a lean run with the bat against the Tigers.
“It’s important that we stick to what we want to achieve with our combitions,” du Plessis was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Friday.
“Putting AB at the top is a conscious change we made leading up to the (T20) World Cup (next year). You want to give your most explosive and best player a crack at getting in early and scoring runs, that is something we will stick with even though the conditions here will probably suggest otherwise,” he said.
South Africa will play a two-match T20 series against New Zealand in Durban and Centurion where De Villiers will open the batting.
“In Durban, with a bit more grass, your cricket brain tells you should keep AB back because the ball will move around a little bit and there is potential for him getting out early but it’s not about this, it’s about the bigger picture. He needs to get used to batting in that new role.”
De Villiers currently sits on top of the Intertiol Cricket Council’s ODI batting rankings and is the No.2 Test batsman behind England’s Joe Root, but has slipped to No.44 in the Twenty20 rankings. IANS