Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has admitted that AB de Villiers is unlikely to play Test cricket again.
De Villiers, who actually wanted to retire from Test cricket in late 2016 before being persuaded by Cricket South Africa to carry on, opted to miss a majority of South Africa’s Test assignments this year and stated that he would only return at the end of the year.
However, while Proteas fans will be desperately hoping that De Villiers continues featuring in the longest format, especially after South Africa’s 3-1 loss to England, Du Plessis reiterated that it is unlikely to happen.
“I would love AB to play – we all know how good he is and we missed him, but we’ve spent too much time talking about when he is going to come back,” he said. “The hope of him coming back is something we need to move past, we need to find someone else to fulfill that role. If AB comes back it’s a huge bonus but I don’t expect him to come back into the Test team.”
Meanwhile, Du Plessis confirmed that Temba Bavuma is likely to take over the No. 4 spot on the batting line-up after South Africa did a little experimentation with the position during the recent four-Test series against England.
JP Duminy could not live up to expectations and was subsequently dropped from the side, while Quinton de Kock and Bavuma fared pretty well.
But, given De Kock’s aggressive and attacking nature at the crease, Du Plessis conceded that Bavuma would be better suited to batting at No. 4.
“We didn’t come here planning for JP to be dropped, we were hoping that he could bowl and play those x-factor innings,” du Plessis said. “The change with Quinton going in at four was to transfer pressure back on the England team and he is the one guy who can do that.
“He did that in the second Test with match-changing innings on a greentop but from a consistency point of view your number four needs to play the way the team needs him to play and Quinton plays the way Quinton need to play. In conditions like this, with the ball moving around, I think it’s better for Quinton to come in at six or seven like your Bairstow, Stokes and Ali.
“Temba is probably technically our best player along with Hashim and myself. I love what I see in Temba’s character and he’s going to be an important leader for us in the team. I’m a big believer that, if you see that in somebody you give them responsibility to bring the best out in them. When he batted at four he was our best player in really challenging conditions and that showed me that he has the capability of being South Africa’s number four for a long time.”
When asked what went wrong throughout the Test series, Du Plessis pointed out that the batsmen were unable to get the job done.
“From a batting perspective we haven’t been where we needed to be, myself included, and England has a really quality bowling attack so we knew the series was going to be won and lost there,” he said. “The learning for the batting unit will be important – we know there are holes we need to fix.
“Heino [Kuhn] didn’t do as well as he would have liked, he’s a quality player so we’ll have to look at that and, from a balance point of view, six or seven batsmen is always the question for us.”