AB de Villiers to continue batting at top of the order in T20Is, says Faf du Plessis
South African T20I captain Faf du Plessis has stated that AB de Villiers will continue to bat at the top of the order ahead of the 2-match T20I series against England which begins on Friday. The Test and ODI skipper has opened the batting for his team in 4 out of the last 6 T20Is.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of the first T20I, du Plessis said: "AB has been batting up the top for the last three series, and I don't see that changing."
In the T20I series against India last year, de Villiers was given the role of an opener with him also keeping wickets with Quinton de Kock relegated to the bench. But with de Kock in such good form in ODIs recently, the Proteas will definitely be tempted to add him into the playing XI.
Hashim Amla opened the batting with de Villiers in India, but it will be interesting to see if he is demoted to the number three position if de Kock plays.
Further speaking about de Villiers, du Plessis added: "He's an X-factor player, and it's definitely something we see as a wild card for the World Cup. He's one of those players who can take a game away every day, and it's something we're optimistic about at this World Cup."
Despite being one of the most destructive batsmen of the modern era, de Villiers' record in T20Is has been below-par. He averages just 22.88 at a strike-rate of 125.88 from 63 matches and has scored just one 50+ score in his last 7 T20I matches.
The South African management over the last few years, especially at the previous World T20 in Bangladesh, have been criticised of misusing de Villiers in the shortest format of the game. He spent most of the tournament in 2014 batting at the number 5 position.
Du Plessis also spoke about Dale Steyn, who has been facing injury issues over the last few months. He said that he expects his premier fast bowler to be back for the T20I series against Australia, which precedes the World T20.
"Dale looks fit. But we said we'd bring him into the mix for the games against Australia, just to give him some extra time to get back," he said.
South Africa begin their World T20 campaign with a match against England on March 18 at Mumbai.