AB will be missed, but game goes on

RESPECTABLE TOTAL: Proteas captain AB de Villiers top-scored with 72 in the fourth ODI against New Zealand in Hamilton yesterday Picture: GETTY IMAGES
RESPECTABLE TOTAL: Proteas captain AB de Villiers 
Picture: GETTY IMAGES

The only arrow missing from AB de Villiers’s quiver after South Africa’s one-day series against New Zealand was a century.

Twice in five innings he forged to within 30 of three figures – one of those times undefeated – and he was the series’ leading run-scorer.

Which might make you think De Villiers will look to chase down that slippery century in the test series that starts in Dunedin on Wednesday.

Instead‚ he will chase his toddling son‚ AB jnr‚ around the house in Pretoria on Wednesday.

“I can’t wait to get home‚” De Villiers said at Eden Park on Saturday after South Africa wrapped up a 3-2 win in the ODI series.

“I am really looking forward to getting to my family.”

De Villiers has opted out of the New Zealand tests as well as those against England in July.

He does‚ however‚ remain available for the one-day series in England in May and the Champions Trophy there in June.

“A couple of weeks at home before cricket starts again is coming at a great time for me‚” De Villiers said.

“I will really miss the boys and I will watch the cricket, but it’s a great time for me to get back and rest the mind.”

What did the South Africans De Villiers left behind in New Zealand think of that?

“Any coach would want AB de Villiers in their side‚” Russell Domingo said in Auckland yesterday.

“But that’s the decision he’s made and we respect it.

“He plays such a lot of cricket around the world and at such a high level all the time‚ and he’s got a young family.

“He needs to freshen up and he needs to try and win the World Cup in 2019 – that’s a big ambition for him.

“We’ve gone through series without him so the game moves on.

“Somebody will‚ in time to come‚ get to De Villiers’s level.

“When that is we don’t know‚ but somebody will at some stage.”

For now‚ Domingo hopes to fill the gap with the resources at his disposal.

“Our nine new [test] players have been training in Auckland for the past week‚ so they’re keen‚” he said.

“They bring fresh energy‚ new thoughts‚ new ideas.

“And we’ve got a new captain [Faf du Plessis] who can’t wait to get going,” Domingo said.

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