Kirsten approached de villiers at IPL

2011-06-10 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s new cricket coach Gary Kirsten asked AB de Villiers in Bangalore during the Indian Premier League (IPL) to captain the Proteas.

De Villiers (27) was this week appointed as the national team’s one-day and Twenty20 skipper. Graeme Smith will still be at the helm in Tests. De Villiers, who played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, revealed on Tuesday night at Cricket South Africa’s annual awards evening how he was approached by Kirsten.

“He asked whether I would be prepared to do it. Of course, one could not say no,” said De Villiers. “I was a little dumbstruck because he is one of my heroes.”

Kirsten was in India to give a “talk”.

“He phoned me and said he would like to share his thoughts with me. I thought he would only be discussing batting with me.”

De Villiers said it was a huge surprise when Kirsten came up with the offer.

De Villiers made his Test debut as opening batsman in 2004 — the same year that Kirsten retired. The reliable batsman, also entrusted with the wicketkeeping gloves, is not afraid of the additional responsibility of captaincy.

“Gary and I will ensure that I don’t carry too much on my shoulders. I would like to lead by example. I want to be that kind of captain. I will work in the off-season to ensure my batting is up to scratch. The captaincy will motivate me to play better.”

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