Cape Town - Proteas captain, AB de Villiers, is optimistic about the Test’s team future despite the current run of poor performances.
While injuries and poor form to key players have hampered the team’s progress this summer, De Villiers says there is enough depth to take the team forward but some patience and time to allow players to settle into their roles will be important going forward.
He was addressing the media at SuperSport Park in Centurion, where the Proteas wrapped up their preparation for the fourth Sunfoil Test against England starting on Friday.
“I’m very optimistic about our future,” De Villiers said on Thursday.
“I have seen a lot of talent come through in the last while. We need to get a bit of experience, a few smart heads involved and I truly believe we will move forward as a cricket team.
“Losing big players like that is always going to affect the team,” he said.
“I’d like to believe that there is enough depth in the system to cover those holes but it also takes a bit of time. We need to be patient with ourselves when it comes to that and allow some of the new players to settle into their roles and to understand exactly where they fit in. Some of the players are only injured and hopefully they will make a big impact when they return.”
It’s the first time in nearly five years that the Proteas have gone through a series without the services of Dale Steyn or Vernon Philander, but De Villiers believes the inexperienced attack will be better off by ‘learning in the hardest possible way’, which is in the field.
“I’m very optimistic, I’ve seen plenty of talent,” he said of the bowling attack.
“I’ve seen guys take 10-wicket hauls at domestic level, that doesn’t happen often. The talent and potential is there, it’s a matter of getting some experience, spending enough time in this environment at international level where they can learn in the hardest possible way. We have done that in the last few weeks. I’m excited about what’s to come, I truly believe there is enough talent for us to move forward with and to have a brilliant attack in the future. Dale (Steyn) and Vernon (Philander) are making their way back from injury and once they come back the youngsters will be able to learn quickly from them.”
The skipper has asked for more consistency from his players, especially when the opposition is under pressure, an area they have struggled with this series. He confirmed that Stephen Cook would make his debut in the opening slot, and that a decision on the spinner and a bowler with ‘better control’ would be made later this evening.
“There is no dead-rubber in Test cricket, the game has way too much culture and tradition for us to think that it doesn’t mean anything tomorrow,” he said.
“It’s an important game for us, we would hate to lose 3-0, 2-1 sounds a lot better. We haven’t won a Test match for 12 months, we are rebuilding a little bit and are trying to find our feet but I think it’s time for us to wake up a little bit and to start playing proper cricket.
“I don’t think we were too far off the beat in the last match, we came up short in a couple of important sessions, we will be trying to do that better in this Test match.”