AB de Villiers has been added to South Africa’s ODI squad for the remaining three matches against India, but a call on his availability for the pink match on Saturday at the Wanderers will only be taken at Friday’s practice. De Villiers missed the first three matches with a finger injury he sustained during the Wanderers Test.
At that stage, de Villiers was the only big name with a niggle but South Africa have since lost two others, and all three matches. Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock were ruled out of the ODIs and T20s with a broken finger and wrist injury respectively. In du Plessis’ absence, Aiden Markram was named captain and Heinrich Klaasen replaced de Kock behind the stumps. Though de Villiers has both led and kept wicket in the past, he will not do either this time and will instead just boost the batting.
South Africa have been ravaged by India’s wristspinners, who have taken 21 of the 27 wickets the Indian bowlers have taken so far and JP Duminy admitted after the third ODI that the line-up was not able to pick their deliveries, especially the googlies. De Villiers is one of South Africa’s best players of spin and Duminy described the prospect of his return as a “massive boost.”
If de Villiers plays, he is likely to slot in at No. 3 or 4 which will push Duminy down the order and allow South Africa to dispense with one of David Miller or Khaya Zondo. Both could miss out if Farhaan Behardien, who was added to the squad when du Plessis was injured, is included in the starting XI.
South Africa must win at the Wanderers to avoid losing the series and history is on their side. The match will be played in pink, as a part of a campaign for breast cancer awareness, and is the sixth of its kind, and South Africa have never lost in that colour. De Villiers has performed particularly well in pink, and scored the fastest hundred in ODI history at the Wanderers against West Indies three years ago.
ODI squad: Aiden Markram (capt), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaya Zondo, Farhaan Behardien, Heinrich Klaasen (wk).