In reflecting on South Africa’s sensational come-from-behind win in the first Test against Australia in Perth, Boucher, who played 147 Tests and was part of victorious Proteas teams in England and Australia in 2008, said De Villiers deserved to be shown the respect of being granted his position as skipper when he returned to the team.
“It’s definitely the talk of the town,” Boucher said of the chatter that’s been popular in pubs, around braais and on social media about the captaincy lately. With De Villiers absent through injury, his close friend Du Plessis, has led South Africa to a 5-0 whitewash of Australia in a One-Day series recently and then showed excellent leadership skills as the Proteas overcame the Australians at the Waca even as they were a bowler short when spearhead Dale Steyn went down with an injury.
“I haven’t played a lot of cricket with Faf,” said Boucher. “I know he’s a very decent person, and obviously a very good captain. I’d like to think that AB is the captain and Faf is the stand-in at the moment. Whether AB comes back and they give him an extended run and it doesn’t work out then you can always turn back to a guy like Faf. But the respect has to go to the present captain and the present captain is AB and we have to back him 100 percent to do that job.”
De Villiers has captained the Test team twice, losing the third match of the series to England last season - and with it the series - and then leading the Proteas to a consolation victory in the fourth Test.
He was formally appointed as Test captain in February, but due to the injury incurred while playing in the Caribbean Premier League he missed the Tests against New Zealand, where Du Plessis led the side to a confidence-boosting series win.
“You have to be realistic.. who has AB had as a bowling attack (when he captained the team)? He lost Dale and Vernon (Philander), two stalwarts, he’s not had an opportunity to let those guys loose for long periods of time. I’d be very careful to just throw AB out of the equation when it comes to the captaincy. He’s the type of captain who really does lead from the front,” Boucher explained.
“Sometimes in our country maybe we get bored of seeing these legends churning out those results day in and day out and we want to see something different. But let’s not get bored of AB de Villiers, that kid is a genius. And not just a genius with the bat but a genius with his cricket brain as well. If a couple of our boys can tap into his mindset and follow his example we’ll be in a good place as a Protea cricket team.”
Boucher ranked the win in Perth as one of the top five Test victories achieved by the Proteas. Citing the state of the game after the first day - when South Africa had been bowled out for 242 and Australia ended on 105/0 - Steyn’s game ending on day two with a shoulder injury, Boucher said it would have been easy for the Proteas to crumble and adopt a negative attitude.
“It didn’t surprise me what KG (Rabada) did…we’ve seen it in the past, he really thrives on leading the attack,” said Boucher about Rabada, who picked up the Man of the Match award for a return of 7/170 that included a second innings performance that saw him register a fourth ‘five-for’ in a career that’s just nine Tests old.
“When England were here and Dale and Vernon weren’t playing he led from the front. Although the results weren’t great, he still showed he was the guy they struggled against. When he’s put into that space, he enjoys that challenge. That’s a big positive,” said Boucher.
Independent MediaFormer Proteas wicket-keeper Mark Boucher believes AB de Villiers must assume the captaincy when he is fit and available to play again.
Original source: AB must skipper Proteas, when fit - Boucher