SA considered making AB stand down

2015-02-27 00:00

SYDNEY — AB de Villiers’s presence is so essential for the Proteas’ team campaign during the World Cup that the team management considered — even if only temporarily — relieving him of the captaincy.

De Villiers is due to lead the ­Proteas early this morning (SA time) at the SCG for their group match against the West Indians, their first game since the humiliating defeat at the hands of India in Melbourne.

The team faced a barrage of ­criticism this week after the 130-run loss at the MCG and were castigated ­for their slow bowling rate. De Villiers was fined 20% of his match fee — and his team-mates 10% each — after they failed to bowl their 50 overs against India within the ­prescribed three and a half hours.

Should the Proteas contravene this rule again De Villiers will be suspended for one match. “It is something that we have often discussed and all captains are under tremendous ­pressure to bowl their overs within the prescribed time. They [the ­International Cricket Council] are stricter about this rule during the World Cup than they are in a normal one-day series,” said De ­Villiers.

“Usually there is a little leeway, but now you are warned once and then suspended. It is understandable ­because the spotlight is on the tournament and things must run correctly.”

De Villiers said the South Africans have considered options to solve the problem, even if it means taking away his captaincy during certain games.

“We have considered it and I have even discussed it with the umpires, but this is not allowed. I am the ­appointed captain for the tournament and I will be suspended if we transgress again.

“There is nothing else we can do, other than to get it right.

“We have to maintain the intensity on the field, but it is easier said than done.”

De Villiers admitted that the fact that team rely heavily on fast bowlers, makes his task more difficult.

“The quickies take longer to bowl their overs because their run-ups are longer and we continuously have to change fielding positions. It all takes time, but I am convinced that we will get it right,” he said.

“Fortunately we have Immy [spin bowler, Imran Tahir] who goes through his overs quickly and the part-time bowlers must also assist us.”

De Villiers meanwhile insisted that the Proteas will not deviate from their game plan, despite their humiliation against India.

“Nothing about our approach for the rest of the tournament has changed, even if our self-confidence took a bit of a beating after that match,” he said.

“After such a bad performance it is easy to say lots of things about the team but I can honestly say that ­mentally we are still strong.

“Each player knows exactly what his task is. We just have to do it now.”

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