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
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
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
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
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
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.
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