AB de Villiers to keep wickets against England in Tests

Johannesburg, Dec 10 (IANS) South Africa star AB de Villiers will be taking on the responsibilities of a wicketkeeper-cum-batsman for the first two Tests of their upcoming cricket series against England, starting in Cape Town on Boxing Day.

The 31-year-old has kept wickets just 23 times in his 103-Test career and it’s a role he’s been reluctant to perform in recent years due to a chronic back issue.

South Africa’s T20I skipper Faf du Plessis had said some time back that de Villiers would only put on the keeping gloves for the shortest format of the game.

But the 13-man squad which the Proteas have announced for the tour confirms that he would be the man behind the stumps as Dane Vilas and Quinton de Kock have not made the cut for the tour.

“One of the issues that concerned us during the tour to India was the lack of depth to our batting, particularly in the lower order,” selection convener Linda Zondi was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Thursday.

“And the change in AB’s role means that we can now have a specialist batsman at No.7. We now feel that the side has a much better balance about it without in any way reducing the tactical options available to our captain, Hashim Amla.”

South Africa squad: Hashim Amla (c), AB de Villiers (vc), Kyle Abbott, Temba Bavuma, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Morne Morkel, Dane Piedt, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, Stiaan van Zyl.

England squad: Alastair Cook (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Nick Compton, Mark Footitt, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Samit Patel, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Chris Woakes

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