Cricket: AB de villiers’ struggles are worrying

2012-09-07 00:00

ANY momentous series win has its aftereffects. The one-day series, which concluded yesterday, has exposed South Africa’s inability to throttle opponents, but more worryingly, is the visible burden on AB de Villiers’ shoulders.

Very often, the best players are not always the best leaders. I have never played professional sport, and, having chosen this line of work, chances are I will never dive on any paddock or get rapped on the gloves for a living. Some of the best captains I played under were less talented, but their leadership skills more than made up for this.

De Villiers has and still has to scale batting heights mere mortals and first-class toilers can only dream of. He did have that horrible extended slump in 2006 and 2007, when he could not get his front pad out of the traffic or resist the urge of swishing outside off-stump. However, those were second and third-season blues. All great players have to trough before they peak. It’s the sports’ equivalent of a stress fracture test and those who have gone through it are well-documented.

De Villiers already sits on South Africa’s second-highest batting pedestal with his unbeaten 278 against Pakistan at Abu Dhabi. Hashim Amla may have overhauled it in different circumstances under different pressures, but it was a great innings nonetheless. With Jacques Kallis’s workload lessening as his twilight lengthens, De Villiers’ and Amla’s importance take on a greater scope. Amla may become South Africa’s greatest batsman, but there is no doubt De Villiers will be in his slipstream. But with De Villiers also holding the ODI, T20 and Test wicket-keeping gloves, it is an Everest he needs to deal with.

A good example is that of Alec Stewart, an old school stroke maker who had the gloves forced on him, while excellent wicketkeepers like Robert Russell and Steven Rhodes suffered because of the never-ending crusade to find balance, which saw solidity being sacrificed.

They might have straddled different eras and Stewart might have faced better attacks on spicier tracks, but De Villiers is the better batsman, and the only comparison that can be shared is their buccaneering batting, aesthetics and their ability to rise to the occasion. The past one-day series has showcased De Villiers’ immediate inability to handle three hot cakes at one time. He may be a master chef with his Kahuna knife, but the rubber gloves are diminishing that effect. The runs came early in his stint, but, as the pressure mounted, the runs dried up and the fast starts diminished.

Kumar Sangakkara is the classic example of a flower that blossomed with the loosening of the shackles of keeping. Sangakkara had an even better captaincy stint, and it is a trail that De Villiers should and must follow.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.