AB de Villiers. Picture: REUTERS
AB de Villiers. Picture: REUTERS

The Tshwane Spartans have appointed AB de Villiers as captain for the first edition of the Mzansi Super League that starts in Cape Town on Friday.

The 34-year-old De Villiers‚ who has featured in the Indian Premier League (IPL) since its beginning‚ comes with lots of experience for the Pretoria side as he has played 78 T20s for the Proteas and scored 1,672 runs since 2006.

“It’s a huge honour to captain this team in the first Mzansi Super League‚” he said as they prepare for the opening of the tournament against Cape Town Blitz at Newlands on Friday.

“I am really excited to work with this group of players because there’s a lot of talent‚ with a great balance between youth and experience.

“Even though we are missing out on a few players that aren’t available yet‚ we still have a fantastic balance in the side. There’s good skill right through‚ with batting depth all the way down to No 9‚ which isn’t normally the case with T20 cricket.

“I am excited about our bowlers as well. There’s lots of experience with a number of guys who have done this day in and day out and a couple of wrist spinners‚ with the option to go right or left-arm orthodox‚ so there are lots of variations.”

The former SA captain said he would draw on his vast experience during the tournament.

“I try to lead from the front and rely on the experience I have picked up over the years‚” he said.

De Villiers said he believed he was “a decent manager when it comes to understanding players’ strengths and weaknesses”.

Coach Mark Boucher is happy to have his former teammate as leader of the side because of his experience in T20 cricket.

“The players that make up our squad are leaders in their own right but you need someone to tie that all together and AB knows these conditions better than anyone‚” he said.

“He’s comfortable in his own space and in tournaments like these. In the IPL he’s played in big-pressure matches‚ so he’s the perfect man for the job.

“He leads from the front and plays with great intensity.

“For T20 cricket that’s what the game is all about. AB and Virat Kohli are in the same sort of mould‚ and how Virat rallies his team is how I think AB will rally the Spartans.