AB de Villiers, in good form, can thrill and bewilder cricket fans all over the world; whether he is playing in the Mzansi Super League, IPL or Big Bash. Wherever he plays, his name is synonymous with massive sixes and thrill-a-minute batsmanship.
In recent times AB’s name has never been far from controversy, especially here in South Africa, for various reasons. There was his initial retirement which puzzled many a cricket fan as there was just over a year to go until the Cricket World Cup in England. Then during the tournament rumours emerged that AB had offered to come back into the team just before the world cup, but Faf du Plessis and then Head Coach Otis Gibson had declined that offer. It was later reported that those rumours were false, but you know what they say, where there’s smoke there’s a fire.
Mark Boucher has made it abundantly clear that he would like to have AB back playing for SA and AB himself has said he is open to playing for the Proteas; His form in the IPL this season has been excellent and that has to lead many a fan to wonder what if? What if he did come back? Some fans on Twitter have in fact been begging for his return, but do we need him to win the T20 World Cup next year?
In short, no! While I accept that AB is immensely talented, and has a wealth of experience and knowledge, he also doesn’t have a record of getting his team across the line. Often he will get out at the wrong time and leave fans on tenterhooks while watching the last few overs of a run chase that we had “in the bag” while he was in. If you bat first AB is your man, but in a run chase he hasn’t delivered quite as often.
Another reason we don’t need him is the form of our other players in the IPL. Skipper Quinton de Kock was in good form, without really kicking on but looks fantastic. Faf du Plessis is 3rd on the run-scorers list, and Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have bowled magnificently as a pair.
Moving away from the IPL and looking at the squad that took on Australia before the COVID19 riddled calendar hamstrung world cricket. It was a good indication that things were going in the right direction with the likes of Heinrich Klaasen and Kyle Verreyne showing that South Africa has some good depth in the batting department. And with three decent all-rounder options to choose from in Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, and Chris Morris, one could argue we have the talent and squad depth to challenge anyone on our day.
The T20 World Cup will be in India next year if it does take place and that might work in AB’s favour as he plays a lot of IPL cricket in India. Mark Boucher might look to lean on that experience as SA look for their first T20 World Cup win or World Cup win of any kind to be fair. It remains to be seen whether or not AB de Villiers will don the green and gold once again, but there is one certainty, while CSA might be a mess off the field our cricketers are amongst the elite of the world, and perhaps the stars might align for us to win our first World Cup trophy next year.