Proteas

Hash or De Kock to partner AB?

2016-02-22 11:29
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Any doubts over whether the Proteas would consider moving AB de Villiers down to No 3 in their T20 batting order were well and truly extinguished in Sunday's post-match press conference at the Wanderers. 

South Africa beat England by 9 wickets to win the T20I series 2-0 thanks largely to 125-run opening stand between De Villiers and Hashim Amla. 

The dilemma now comes in the form of the explosive Quinton de Kock, who was rested for the two T20s against England but is available for the three Australia clashes in early March as preparations for next month's ICC World Twenty20 in India reach their climax. 

De Kock has been in devastating form at the top of the order for the ODI side, and his natural aggression and proven success in India make him an attractive option at next month's tournament. 

But how to fit De Villiers, Amla and De Kock into the side is proving to be a bit of a quandary for the brains trust.

One thing is certain: De Villiers is not moving.

"I've always wanted AB, especially now going into this World Cup, to open at the top. So that means that there will always be just one spot," Du Plessis said. 

Fair enough. 

De Villiers smashed 71 from 29 balls on Sunday and the longer he bats in any match, the better the Proteas' chances of winning will be. 

Amla, meanwhile, carded a career-best 69* off 38 on Sunday in a knock that reminded the selectors of what they would be missing should they opt to leave him out. 

So, is there room for all three in the line-up? At this stage, it doesn't seem so.

"I don't know ... that's something we'll have to look at. For the time being that wasn't a plan of ours, but if it comes to a stage where we need to assess it then by all means we will look at it," said Du Plessis. 

There is certainly a lot to think about between now and South Africa's tournament opener against England on March 18, but there are still three home T20Is against Australia to help Du Plessis and the selectors make up their minds. 

"We'll have to assess in India who we think is the best option to go up the top and obviously we've got Australia to come now, so (we will) possibly look to rotate a few players if we can and when we can," said Du Plessis.

"For me the great things about our squad of 15 is that I feel for the first time we're going with 15 players that can be just as strong as the guy playing in their place.

"Competition like that is great because you take a lot of options to the World Cup and if something doesn't go well there's always time to change it.

"For the moment both of the guys - Hash and Quinny - have had an excellent One Day campaign. For me it's not a headache, it's great to have options."

The Proteas take on Australia in the first T20I at Kingsmead on March 4.

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26 December 2016
South Africa v Sri Lanka, Port Elizabeth 10:00
02 January 2017
South Africa v Sri Lanka, Cape Town 10:00
12 January 2017
South Africa v Sri Lanka, Johannesburg 10:00
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