Proteas

Kirsten approached AB at IPL

2011-06-08 22:59
Gary Kirsten and AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)
Johann de Jager

Johannesburg - South Africa's new cricket coach Gary Kirsten asked AB de Villiers in Bangalore during the Indian Premier League (IPL) to captain the Proteas.

De Villiers (27) was this week appointed as the national team's one-day and Twenty20 skipper. Graeme Smith will still be at the helm in Tests.

De Villiers, who played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, revealed on Tuesday night at Cricket South Africa's (CSA) annual awards evening how he was approached by Kirsten.

"He put the plans on the table and asked whether I would be prepared to do it. Of course one could not say no to something like that," said De Villiers.

"I was a little dumbstruck because he is one of my heroes and it was great to see him."

Kirsten was in India to give a "talk".

"He phoned me and said he would like to share his thoughts with me. I initially thought he would only be discussing batting with me. He previously helped me with that."

De Villiers said it was a huge surprise when Kirsten came up with the offer.

"I think we will work very well together."

De Villiers made his Test debut as opening batsman in 2004 - the same year in which Kirsten retired.

"I definitely did not expect it. It was a surprise, but of course a huge honour and privilege. I can't wait for the challenge."

The reliable batsman, who is also entrusted with the wicketkeeping gloves these days, is not afraid of the additional responsibility of captaincy.

"Gary and I will make plans and ensure that I don't carry too much on my shoulders. I would like to lead by example - I want to be that kind of captain. It's important for me to get runs and lead from the front.

"I will work myself to a standstill in the off-season to ensure my batting is up to scratch. I also have an idea the captaincy will motivate me to play better."
 

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