One-Day Ac­tion

We round up the se­ries go­ing on in UAE and South Africa

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS - By Adam El­lis

RE­NEWED free­dom was the sense in which AB de Vil­liers played his way to one of the best ODI knocks of 2017, fresh from re­lin­quish­ing the shack­les of cap­taincy.

De Vil­liers’ 176 from 104 balls at Boland Park, Paarl, was a twohour long flash of sky gaz­ing and awe.

De­struc­tive against a Bangladesh at­tack which saw only Rubel Hos­sain (4-62) and Shakib Al-Hasan (2-60) claim wick­ets, De Vil­liers ad­mit­ted there was an ini­tial feel­ing of in­se­cu­rity when set­tling into an in­nings in which he went on to score 15 bound­aries and seven sixes.

“I was still ner­vous,” the South African said. "It took me an over or so to re­mem­ber I had a good net in Kim­ber­ley and I am in good form. I had to re­mind my­self that I am hit­ting the ball well.

“It was great to be out there with Hashim, he has a very calm­ing in­flu­ence. I am hit­ting the ball as well as ever. I just spent a bit of time out there and then some of the bound­aries kept flow­ing.”

Andile Phehluk­wayo was the pick of the bowlers with 4-40 from his ten overs, as the Proteas bowled the chas­ing tourists all out for 249.

An all-round pos­i­tive per­for­mance from a team that De Vil­liers went as bold as to say would con­tinue pro­gress­ing un­der ‘one of the best lead­ers we’ve ever had in this coun­try’ in cap­tain Faf du Plessis. De Vil­liers spoke of his re­turn to in­ter­na­tional cricket af­ter step­ping down as ODI cap­tain and tak­ing an ex­tended break from the de­mands of his work­load ear­lier this year.

“The feel­ing is still very sim­i­lar, even though I’m not cap­tain,” said De Vil­liers on be­ing back play­ing.

“Faf and I have come a long way to­gether. We know each other’s game out there re­ally well and I sup­port him as cap­tain like he did for me when I was cap­tain.

“I’ve had a long run as cap­tain and some fan­tas­tic ‘ups’ and quite a few ‘lows' in be­tween. I’ve cap­tained for five or six years and I just felt that it was enough.

“I wanted to en­joy the last few years of my ca­reer.”

Speak­ing of his team-mate and close friend Du Plessis, De Vil­liers added: “I’m 33-years-old and I know Faf is ca­pa­ble. He is go­ing to be one of the best lead­ers we’ve ever had in this coun­try ... he could be the best. We're go­ing to give him all the sup­port he can get.”

His high re­gard for Du Plessis was not the only fac­tor be­hind his de­ci­sion to per­form a u-turn and make him­self avail­able across all three for­mats for South Africa, as De Vil­liers al­luded to the ap­point­ment of Ot­tis Gib­son’s as Proteas head coach.

“I needed a cou­ple of months away with the fam­ily and then Ot­tis made con­tact. I had met him be­fore he was an­nounced coach and I knew he was a great guy. He wanted to know where I was headed with my ca­reer and I told him I wanted to get back in the side.”

De Vil­liers could make a first Test ap­pear­ance since Jan­uary 2016 when Zim­babwe are wel­comed to St Ge­orge’s Park on Box­ing Day.

PIC­TURES: Getty Images

Stun­ning: South Africa’s AB de Vil­liers hit a won­der­ful 176 off just 104 de­liv­er­ies

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