March 17, 2014 in Uncategorized
When it comes to T20 cricket, there’s this notion or belief in the circles of South African cricket that I would like to nip in the bud with this blog. The notion is that since AB De Villiers is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen in world cricket playing today, he’s our best T20 batter which means he should face as many balls as possible in the shortest format of cricket.
Now on the surface when considering his talent and batting style, the statement above is not very far from the truth however when digging a lil bit deeper, that’s when that statement becomes a bit of a grey area. In plain terms, AB’s record in international T20’s sucks. It hurt to type that as I believe this guy is easily one of the most talented batsmen we’ve ever produced & my favourite player as well but stats & results do not lie. He’s not even ranked among the top 40 batsmen in world T20’s which is shocking considering his ranking in ODI’s and the problem is, there’s not really 1 reason you can pin on to say this is why De Villiers doesn’t perform so well in this format.
One can nit-pick and say things like he comes in too late, he tries to do too much, expectations are too big, he’s just unlucky in that format, the ever changing batting order upset his rhythm etc. but I feel with the unpredicting nature that is T20 cricket, it really is impossible to say. Take Friday’s game for example: When he came in we were already 3 guys down and our run rate was bit below average but he had 2 things going for him: Quinton de Kock was already settled and was looking to take on the Ozzies and there were still plenty of overs left in the game yet he still went out for a measly 11 with a strike rate of 110 (Oh yes, Pisspoor decision by whoever decided to bat JP before AB in the powerplay – regardless of what happened after that, I believe that was one of factors that lost us the game).
After the game, I told my friends that if we’re going to fail in the upcoming WT20 cup, it’s probably going to be due to our conservativeness than any other factor because in a game where being conservative should be put on the backburner most of the time, we still have a tough time grasping that concept. For example. I really feel we’re missing a trick with David Miller as well. Why can’t we bat him at 4 coz even if he goes out early, we’ll still have AB & JP to consolidate and if he goes out in say the 17 or 18th over more often than not he probably did a lot of damage already & who better to bring in than AB who certainly has the ability to hit a boundary with the first ball he faces.
This belief that AB should face the most balls is just silly to me as anyone of de Kock, Miller, Faf and even JP can have a big game or come off on any day. The latter 2 are actually our best batsmen according to ICC rankings. AB doesn’t need the time or amount of balls faced that Miller and some others need to have a real go at the opposition and sure there will always be the ones saying ‘he scored 35 off 12 balls in the last 2 overs, why didn’t he come in earlier’ but that’s just highsight talk really. What we really need to do with our batsmen is give them clearcut roles & tasks and hope they execute and maybe that’s why AB struggles in the T20’s. Hash & De Kock know their roles, Faf I think is a brilliant option to come in at 3 but it’s after that where it starts getting murky. Who should come in at 4 and why and what should he do? Once we get that right, I think we’ll start seeing better results, on the scoreboard and in AB.