De Villiers considering giving up wicketkeeping in Tests

"It's difficult to take on the gloves, especially keeping in mind that I haven't kept for six or seven months now"

“It’s difficult to take on the gloves, especially keeping in mind that I haven’t kept for six or seven months now”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers has revealed that he is considering not donning the keeping gloves any more in Test matches due to long-term back issues.

De Villiers did not keep in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle due to a hamstring niggle and is unlikely to do so during the second Test in Colombo as well.

“In the last game I had that hammy issue. That’s sort of recovered, but my back’s always been an issue,” de Villiers said. “It’s difficult to take on the gloves, especially keeping in mind that I haven’t kept for six or seven months now. So, with that injury and a two-day turnaround after the day off yesterday, for me to get into shape with my gloves on would be a little bit unfair with my back.”

However, while this means that Quinton de Kock is likely to become South Africa’s new full-time wicketkeeper, de Villiers still looks upon himself as a “wicketkeeping-batsman”.

“I’d still like to think that I’m a wicketkeeping-batsman and whatever the team wants me to do, I’ll do that,” he said. “But we’d have to manage it really well so that I don’t come into a series having not kept for five or six months. I have to come prepared to a series without any niggles.”

De Villiers also admitted that he enjoys wicketkeeping a lot more, but added that in order to prolong his career, he doesn’t mind fielding in the slip cordon.

“I do enjoy fielding. It’s tough at slip,” he said. “The ball doesn’t come to you very often. So from that perspective I enjoy keeping more – you’re in the game the whole time. But it’s nice to pull off something special every now and then in the field, to keep the intensity and the energy going.”

De Villiers also lauded Hashim Amla for his first win as Test captain.

“He made a flawless start. He’s always been a natural leader,” de Villiers said. “What happened was something in the past. Obviously, I would have liked to do the job but he got it and I’m 100% behind him. He knows that. He had a great start and I think he’s going to have an amazing career as a captain. He’s got all the credentials, everything that you need to be a great leader. The whole team is right behind him.”

De Villiers also stated that he was disappointed to have failed with the bat during the first Test.

“I didn’t have a huge Test match with the bat in the last game, although I played a decent knock in the second innings,” he said. “I’d love to get in and make an impact for the team and get us into a position where we can win the game. It’s never been about my¬†own runs. If I can score as many as possible to get us into a position to win then I’ll be a very happy man.”

The 30-year-old added that he is still scarred by South Africa’s last tour of Sri Lanka in 2006.

“It was very bad. I don’t want to think about it,” De Villiers said. “It’s been eight years and I remember the change room and some of the memories come to my mind. It was eight years ago and hopefully we’ll turn it around. Let’s look at it as payback time.”

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