Proteas

AB to bat at No 3 for Proteas?

2017-01-24 14:20
AB de Villiers (Gallo)

Cape Town - The series may be up for grabs, but AB de Villiers' return to international cricket is certainly the highlight going into the third T20I between the Proteas and Sri Lanka at Newlands on Wednesday. 

De Villiers has not featured in Proteas colours since June last year when South Africa were involved in an ODI series with Australia and the West Indies. 

De Villiers, who scored a century playing for Northerns in an amateur game in Benoni on Sunday, will also captain South Africa in the five ODIs against Sri Lanka that will follow the T20I series. 

His return on Wednesday will mean that one of the Proteas top order must be dropped, and while JJ Smuts at the top of the order may seem like an option, that is unlikely given that stand-in skipper Farhaan Behardien has suggested that De Villiers will bat at No 3 in Cape Town. 

"High up … possibly three," Behardien said when asked where he saw De Villiers coming in.

"We’re looking to also get David Miller a go. He’s been batting No 4 for our side. We want to give the best batters the most balls to face. If they face anywhere between 30-50 balls they’ll be striking close to 200."

De Villiers had said before the World T20 in India last year that he wanted to open the batting in T20 cricket. It led to a bit of confusion in South Africa's preparation for the tournament as selectors looked to accommodate De Villiers, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock at the top of the order. 

In the end, De Villiers batted in the middle order in that competition, but he does remain an option for the opening berth in a must-win clash in Cape Town. 

Wherever he bats on Wednesday, De Villiers' presence will be welcomed. 

"He’s one of the best T20 players in the world and one of the best batters in the world (in all formats)," said Behardien.

"He’s been out for such a long time … he’s quite keen to be back and hungry for cricket. It’s unbelievable to have him back.

"We’ll have to have a final little look at that pitch come tomorrow and then finalise the team."

Play starts at 18:00 and the three-match series is tied at 1-1. 

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