Newly-appointed Test skipper AB de Villiers has it in him to become one of South Africa's greatest captains, says Cricket South Africa (CSA) supremo Ali Bacher. (Hashim Amla Quits as South Africa Test Captain, AB de Villiers to Take Over)
"AB should just be the captain and focus on his batting," Bacher told the Afrikaans daily 'Beeld' following the appointment of de Villiers as captain after the surprise resignation by Hashim Amla last week. (Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers Join Elite List)
"With the self-confidence that A B exudes, I think he has the capacity to become one of the greatest South African captains," said Bacher, himself once a South African national team captain and the man largely credited with unifying the racially segregated cricket unions after the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990.
Bacher, who spearheaded South Africa's return to the international cricketing fold after decades of isolation due to apartheid policies, said it's a good move to make de Villiers the captain.
"AB is an inspirational player and with the brilliance that he shows, I foresee that he's going to be successful as Test captain," Bacher said.
"De Villiers, Amla and Faf Du Plessis (the T20 Proteas captain) all get along very well and I think handing over the captaincy will be an easy process."
Bacher commended Amla for his decision to step down as captain.
"I have nothing but the greatest respect for Hashim (Amla) as a person and cricket player," Bacher said, adding that in personal discussions he had found Amla to be the most honourable person that one could find.
"I take my hat off for him because he's retiring at such a high point by showing his fighting spirit with his double century at Newlands (during the second Test against England).
"His determination and capacity to fight back is unparalleled. (Amla) played a great role to rescue his team from what at one stage looked like a big hiding.
"I think it is important that he is now given the chance to just concentrate on his batting, because he's definitely going to play some big innings for his country," Bacher concluded.
Australia batsman George Bailey says his team is looking forward to renew a "fierce" rivalry with India in the upcoming five-match ODI series and feels it will be a big deal for the visitors to beat them in their backyard.
"We have got a rich history and a really strong rivalry with India. We have fought some fierce battles, both in India and here over the last few years. They have played some very strong, aggressive brand of cricket in much as the same way as we do. So, we have to be at our best, some young guys have come in after the change of guard post the World Cup but the rivalry would be as strong," said Bailey ahead of the first ODI on Tuesday.
Bailey believes the semifinal win over India in the World Cup last year won't be in the mind of either team's players.
"It is a big deal for them to try and beat us and particularly away from home. We have got a great record in one-day cricket, including the World Cup. But there has been huge amount of changes to the side which played that World Cup final. There's been a change of guard, a lot of guys are trying to find theirÂ place and some of us guys are trying to make sure that we can stay in the team for as long as we can," said Bailey.
On the WACA wicket, he added: "It's a typical WACA wicket, we have had some high-scoring games here over the past few years. But I always feel that the bowlers get pretty excited, they weren't much fun to face in the nets today. So I imagine they would be licking their lips at the opportunity to get some pace and bounce. It may not be as bouncy as it used to be but as compared to other grounds in the country, it is still pretty bouncy."
George Bailey says that with so many changes in the Australian team, the contests against India will be fierce.