AB has far too much to do

2015-03-11 00:00

HE has two arms, two legs, two ears and two eyes.

And yes, he also has red blood flowing through his veins. On closer inspection, he is just human. Okay, his eyesight might be better than most, but the basics indicate he is normal.

He is AB de Villiers. An extraordinary cricketer yes, but just a guest on earth as we all are. He hasn’t come from some cricket utopia or been moulded in some outer space sports factory and dropped, luckily for us, at the southern tip of Africa.

He has just used his talent well, worked hard at it and made the world sit up and take note that hey, he is something special when it comes to cricket.

But, no matter how special he may be, he is fallible. He can stumble, he can fall and heaven forbid, he can make nought with bat in hand.

Which is why cricket is a game with 11 players in a side, a balance of some who can bat or bowl better than others. The idea is for the players to work together, contribute and feel they have added to a team’s performance, win or lose.

Currently, De Villiers must feel like General Custer at Little Bighorn, making a famous last stand while all around him perished. The only difference is Custer never made it, while De Villiers is left to survey the carnage around him once the dust has settled.

Case in point is the Proteas’ last effort against Pakistan at the weekend. Yes, we are still in the World Cup but it is a little concerning that we are failing against the so-called stronger cricket nations, having also lost to India earlier on.

There’s just the UAE left — which should see the stars lining up for us — then it gets serious. Lose and you are out, one chance, nothing more.

The Pakistan game was the perfect opportunity for the Proteas to play proper, decent cricket. The run rate was never a problem, there was always plenty more balls remaining than runs needed, yet we batted like we were being pursued by a swarm of bees and needed to get to cover as soon as possible.

It soon became apparent that all ­Pakistan’s bowlers needed to do was bang the ball in short and our boys would go for the hook or pull and gleefully sky the ball or give mid-wicket and the outfielders some catching practice.

It defied logic and De Villiers’s 77 stood out like a beacon in the night. How he went out — swishing at one that bounced to be caught behind by the keeper — gave an indication that he had reached a point where he had had enough. Who can blame him if he was thinking, “Why must I be relied on to try and do the impossible all over again? What more can I do?”

Remember — he is human.

Disappointed comes nowhere near summing up how he must have felt afterwards. What he should do, in consultation with coach Russell Domingo, is sit out tomorrow’s match against the UAE and tell the team to go out there and do something about the situation. Put them to the test and see if they can come through the battle unscathed, without the powers of “Neo” (from The Matrix), as De Villiers has been called.

Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis have been able lieutenants but the rest of the troops have been ill-disciplined with the bat. David Miller, for all his talent, needs to make those impressive hundreds against the big opposition and Quinton de Kock must have forgotten how to count to fifty, let alone one hundred, so dismal has his form been.

There’s no more time for talk and excuses — players needing love, taking the blame for poor performances — and so on. It’s time to muscle up, take responsibility and give general De Villiers the respect he demands from his troops.

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