Proteas

AB wants 'smart heads' in back-up staff

AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)
AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Centurion - South African captain AB de Villiers said on Thursday that he would like to see "a few smart heads" involved in the team's back-up staff.

De Villiers said on the eve of the fourth and final Test against England that he was keen to remain captain but he wanted to have discussions about strengthening the coaching staff before South Africa's next Test series against New Zealand in August.

England go into Friday’s clash at SuperSport Park 2-0 up in the series.

De Villiers was only appointed for the last two Tests of the series but said he was keen to remain involved.

"I am keen to play a big role going forward but it's not solely my decision," he said. 

"I’ve seen a lot of talent come through. We just need to get a bit of experience and a few smart heads involved."

He wants to meet Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat and convener of selectors Linda Zondi "to find out exactly where we are going to go."

There has been criticism of the lack of hard experience in the South African coaching set-up and in particular the lack of a batting coach.

De Villiers agreed that a batting coach was a priority. 

"I think we have been a bit naïve in believing we can just go on in the way we have been. We need to get a bit of advice and help, not only from a batting coach, a few other areas as well.

"That will all be discussed after the series. We have a nice break and time to think about things."

De Villiers said he was keen to win the final Test.

"There are no dead rubbers when it comes to Test match cricket. We’d hate to lose 3-0. I think 2-1 sounds a lot better.

"We haven’t won a Test match for 12 months. We are rebuilding a bit and trying to find our feet but it's time for us to wake up and play proper cricket."

De Villiers confirmed that specialist opening batsman Stephen Cook would be in the team and also hinted that steady seamer Kyle Abbott and off-spinner Dane Piedt would come back into the side.

The South African captain said that although England "seem to know what they are doing, there is no doubt in my mind that there are weaknesses there."

Asked to elaborate, he said: "The batting unit is not 100 percent the best in the world. I believe we can find a few cracks in the batting line-up."

England captain Alastair Cook said he hoped his side would continue to be as “ruthless” as they were in Johannesburg. 

"Our training yesterday was as intense as it was at the start of the tour - it would be great end the tour unbeaten."

Cook acknowledged there was some validity in De Villiers' comments about the England batting.

"A lot of the runs have been scored by Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. The other guys haven't quite contributed, myself included, so we have the opportunity in this game."

Cook said Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan and uncapped Mark Footitt were all in contention to replace injured fast bowler Steven Finn.

"It’s a big decision, they all three provide different options."

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