Cape Town - Proteas captain, AB de Villiers, is optimistic
about the Test’s team future despite the current run of poor performances.
While injuries and poor form to key players have hampered the team’s progress
this summer, De Villiers says there is enough depth to take the team forward
but some patience and time to allow players to settle into their roles will be
important going forward.
He was addressing the media at SuperSport Park in Centurion,
where the Proteas wrapped up their preparation for the fourth Sunfoil Test
against England starting on Friday.
“I’m very optimistic about our future,” De Villiers said on
“I have seen a lot of talent come through in the last while. We need
to get a bit of experience, a few smart heads involved and I truly believe we
will move forward as a cricket team.
“Losing big players like that is always going to affect the
team,” he said.
“I’d like to believe that there is enough depth in the system
to cover those holes but it also takes a bit of time. We need to be patient
with ourselves when it comes to that and allow some of the new players to
settle into their roles and to understand exactly where they fit in. Some of
the players are only injured and hopefully they will make a big impact when
It’s the first time in nearly five years that the Proteas
have gone through a series without the services of Dale Steyn or Vernon
Philander, but De Villiers believes the inexperienced attack will be better off
by ‘learning in the hardest possible way’, which is in the field.
“I’m very optimistic, I’ve seen plenty of talent,” he said
of the bowling attack.
“I’ve seen guys take 10-wicket hauls at domestic level,
that doesn’t happen often. The talent and potential is there, it’s a matter of
getting some experience, spending enough time in this environment at
international level where they can learn in the hardest possible way. We have
done that in the last few weeks. I’m excited about what’s to come, I truly
believe there is enough talent for us to move forward with and to have a
brilliant attack in the future. Dale (Steyn) and Vernon (Philander) are making
their way back from injury and once they come back the youngsters will be able
to learn quickly from them.”
The skipper has asked for more consistency from his players,
especially when the opposition is under pressure, an area they have struggled
with this series. He confirmed that Stephen Cook would make his debut in the
opening slot, and that a decision on the spinner and a bowler with ‘better control’
would be made later this evening.
“There is no dead-rubber in Test cricket, the game has way
too much culture and tradition for us to think that it doesn’t mean anything
tomorrow,” he said.
“It’s an important game for us, we would hate to lose 3-0,
2-1 sounds a lot better. We haven’t won a Test match for 12 months, we are
rebuilding a little bit and are trying to find our feet but I think it’s time
for us to wake up a little bit and to start playing proper cricket.
“I don’t think we were too far off the beat in the last
match, we came up short in a couple of important sessions, we will be trying to
do that better in this Test match.”