MZANSI SUPER LEAGUE
AB set to float up and down the Tshwane Spartans’ order
Former Proteas captain and batting star AB de Villiers will get a floating role in the Tshwane Spartans batting line-up in the Mzansi Super League (MSL).
Coach Mark Boucher said conditions at various grounds will determine where the key batsman will be used during the inaugural tournament, which starts with a clash between the Spartans and the Cape Town Blitz at Newlands on Friday.
In a warm-up match against the Jozi Stars on Tuesday night in Johannesburg‚ De Villiers smashed a quickfire 93 off 31 balls to help the Spartans to a five-run victory when he batted at an unfamiliar No5 on the line-up. "AB is a very dangerous player and if there is a situation where the wicket says he must bat at No3 then he will do that‚" said Boucher at SuperSport Park as they prepared for the trip to the Mother City.
"In T20 cricket‚ you have to think on your feet," he said. "If you want to keep him for the death‚ then you can also do that.
"On a different day he may struggle because he is human.
"But there may be other guys in the team who bat well.
"We have a few guys in the team who can float and bat in different positions on different situations," Boucher said.
"During the week he batted at five where he came in during a crucial phase of the game and he played his natural game."
The nature of the tournament is such that players have assembled for a short time before the first match and Boucher said they will get to know each other as time goes on.
"You are not going to create team culture in a couple of days‚ that is something that you will try and do over a period of time‚" he said.
"As the leader of the coaching staff‚ it is about giving the guys the right environment to thrive and get them ready in a short space of time.
"Once you get one or two wins under your belt‚ you will have momentum."
Boucher has assembled a team with established players such as Eoin Morgan‚ Lungi Ngidi‚ Jeewan Mendis‚ Theunis de Bruyn‚ Sean Williams‚ Dean Elgar and Sikandar Raza.
"Most of the guys we have are T20 specialists and they know their games very well‚" the coach said.
"We are just getting our white ball disciplines right at the moment and we had a very good warm-up game against Jozi Stars where we got more out of the game."