AB likely to miss Centurion

2015-01-22 11:25
AB de Villiers (AFP)

Cape Town – His is the hottest name on the lips of cricket enthusiasts worldwide right now, but it looks as though there will be no “homecoming” for AB de Villiers at SuperSport Park in the ODI series-ending fixture against West Indies next Wednesday.

The Pretoria-born ace loves playing before the Titans faithful in Centurion, although strong smoke signals from the Proteas camp suggest the captain will sit out the fifth clash, with the bigger picture of the looming World Cup in mind.

As speculated on Sport24 earlier this week, coach Russell Domingo seemingly plans to give his two most precious batting resources, De Villiers and Hashim Amla, a game off each in the now dead-rubber closing pair of games against the labouring Caribbean outfit.

Domingo has reportedly sent Amla home for a well-deserved short break after he went past at least the 50-mark for the third time in as many ODIs against the West Indies in the nine-wicket thrashing in East London on Wednesday.

The opener has registered 280 runs at an average of exactly that in the series so far, with just one dismissal – a run-out at Kingsmead for 66.

Amla will report back for the fifth clash at Centurion, presumably also taking the reins from De Villiers in his capacity as vice-captain for the World Cup challenge in Australasia from the middle of next month.

De Villiers, who didn’t even get to the crease at Buffalo Park, is set to play one more game in the current series, which is good news for a Port Elizabeth public hoping on Sunday (10:00 start) to see him produce at least some semblance of his record-breaking Wanderers fireworks (149 off 44 deliveries).

He is only 50 runs behind his team-mate with 230 series runs at an average of 115 after just two personal knocks, so he gets his opportunity to try to nose ahead in the healthy rivalry on Sunday if he is afforded decent crease time.

But it also appears as though Morne van Wyk will be introduced to the XI, and entrusted with the wicketkeeping gloves to make De Villiers’s duty in the Friendly City just a little less physically taxing.

Come next Wednesday, there is a chance that Quinton de Kock, the fresh-faced, exciting wicketkeeper-batsman, will be deemed fit enough to return to the side, so that may be some consolation for Centurion fans saddened by the very likely absence of De Villiers.

Domingo has also revealed that the Proteas intend fielding fringe squad members like Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell and Aaron Phangiso over the course of the two remaining ODIs.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  ab de villiers  |  cricket

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