Nervous AB excites Domingo
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.”