Pain won’t stop de Vil­liers’ cru­sade

Geelong Advertiser - - ADDY RACING - RICHARD EARLE

FOR­MER South African skip­per Jo­han Botha pre­dicts bril­liant keeper­bats­man and good mate A.B. de Vil­liers will en­dure any pain to deny Aus­tralia the No.1 Test rank­ing.

De Vil­liers as­sumed the gloves from long- serv­ing Proteas keeper Mark Boucher in a 2-0 se­ries de­feat of Eng­land this win­ter that sealed Test supremacy.

How­ever, a heavy Test and one- day work­load in Eng­land, fol­lowed by the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka this month, caught up with de Vil­liers, ag­gra- vat­ing left an­kle and lower back ail­ments.

‘‘I think he is a world-class player and when you lose guys like that, it is al­ways big. He will be around if he looks af­ter him­self in the next few weeks,’’ said Botha, who counted de Vil­liers among his con­fi­dantes be­fore re­tir­ing from in­ter­na­tional duty af­ter the World T20 to join South Aus­tralia.

‘‘They have two weeks be­fore they come here.’’

Though Jac­ques Kal­lis is the premier all-rounder, de Vil­liers of­fers the same value as great Aus­tralian keeper Adam Gilchrist.

The 28- year- old has scored 5618 runs at 48.85 in 77 Tests.

South African coach Gary Kirsten can’t re­sist de Vil­liers’ ver­sa­til­ity.

It al­lows the in­clu­sion at No.7 of J.P. Du­miny, who av­er­aged 61 f or Graeme Smith’s his­tory- mak­ing, vic­to­ri­ous 2008 Test unit in Aus­tralia.

‘‘He has been in the team about seven years and is very ex­pe­ri­enced but start­ing to strug­gle a lit­tle bit,’’ con­ceded Botha, who pre­ceded de Vil­liers as Twenty20 skip­per and won eight of 10 games as one-day cap­tain from 2008-10.

South Africa’s A.B. de Vil­liers.

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