Ner­vous AB ex­cites Domingo

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

PROTEAS coach Rus­sell Domingo ad­mit­ted AB de Vil­liers was “ner­vous” in his come­back game on Wed­nes­day evening, but is ex­cited that South Africa’s su­per­star bats­man showed that he was “des­per­ate to do well”.

De Vil­liers struck 63 off 44 balls – the top-score in South Africa’s 169/5 – and al­though it wasn’t suf­fi­cient to get the hosts over the line to se­cure the T20 se­ries at a packed New­lands, there were suf­fi­cient signs that the 32-year-old was ready for the up­com­ing ODI se­ries against Sri Lanka start­ing to­mor­row in Port El­iz­a­beth.

It was ap­par­ent from the mo­ment De Vil­liers walked to the crease with nine balls still re­main­ing in the Pow­erPlay, that the for­mer Test cap­tain needed time to find his feet at in­ter­na­tional level again af­ter an in­jury lay­off that lasted more than six months.

“He was ner­vous. It was al­most as though he was play­ing his de­but to­day,” Domingo said af­ter the fivewicket de­feat.

“He was very edgy and said he felt like he was play­ing for the first time. It’s great – it shows how much it still means to per­form. That’s ex­cit­ing for us, be­cause it’s al­most like a bit of a re­birth for him. He’s fresh and re­ally des­per­ate to do well.”

In­stead of at­tack­ing the bowl­ing from the out­set like De Vil­liers would nor­mally do, he was con­tent to as­sess the con­di­tions and bowl­ing dur­ing the early part of his in­nings.

De Vil­liers re­quired four balls to get off the mark and a fur­ther 13 more to reg­is­ter his first bound­ary. But when it even­tu­ally came, all the flam­boy­ance that De Vil­liers has thrilled crowds around with all over the world was ev­i­dent in the squaredrive that was drilled past the sweeper on the cover bound­ary.

De Vil­liers was even con­tent to play the sup­port­ing role to Reeza Hendricks, who also en­joyed a good re­turn on his come­back to in­ter­na­tional cricket with a solid 41 dur­ing their 71-run part­ner­ship for the sec­ond wicket.

“He played the sit­u­a­tion re­ally well,” Domingo said. “We al­ways wanted him to have some time at the crease with the one-day se­ries com­ing up, in­stead of com­ing to have a bit of a tonk at the back end.

“In my opin­ion he played re­ally well and we’re pleased he has some runs be­hind his name. He spent some time in the mid­dle and we can fo­cus all our en­er­gies on the one­day se­ries.

“He’s one of the best bat­ters in the world so it’s great to have him back. It’s good to see him find­ing a lit­tle bit of form and look­ing fresh and hun­gry. That bodes well for the rest of our sum­mer.”

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