Ab de Villiers ‘would give Reeza a go at No 3 at the World Cup’

Former Proteas captain AB de Villiers is backing Reeza Hendricks to bat at No 3 at the World Cup in England next year.

Hendricks batted at three in the first and second ODIs against Zimbabwe recently where he struggled with six runs in those two innings‚ but he improved to score 66 runs when he was asked to open the batting with Aiden Markram in the third and final match.

The Proteas are away to Australia for a three-match ODI series‚ which starts next week Sunday‚ and it remains to be seen if coach Ottis Gibson and captain Faf du Plessis will ask him to open the batting with Quinton de Kock or play him at No 3.

“I would give Reeza another go at No 3 at the World Cup with Hash [Amla] and Quinnie [De Kock] opening the batting‚” De Villiers said.

“Reeza has shown what he is capable of doing and now is the good time to back the guy. He looks at home at No 3 and lets give him a chance to establish himself there.

If Gibson goes that route‚ it will mean that Du Plessis will be deployed at No 4 in the batting line-up‚ a position that the Proteas skipper has already indicated that he would not have a problem fulfilling at a major tournament.

The other key issue that is going to occupy the mind of Gibson ahead of taking on the Aussies will be the go-to man at No 7 where he experimented with Wian Mulder‚ JP Duminy and Andile Phehlukwayo in the three recent matches against Zimbabwe.

“It is a tough one. I see Dwaine Pretorious is back in the mix‚ there is also Andile [Phehlukwayo]‚ ‘Fudgie’ [Farhaan Behardien]‚ Chris Morris and Wiaan Mulder. But once again it will be up to the gut feel of the captain‚ coach and selectors to decide who they go with.”

“They must believe in the guy and back him. Personally I like a seven who can bowl a few overs.

“They all have the potential to fill that role. I have always been excited about Andile and Mulder but Dwaine was not there for a while and he is back now.

“I like all of them and it is about what mix you want‚ are you going with batting or bowling all-rounder.”

It less than seven months to go to the World Cup and De Villiers said the Proteas are on the right track.

“I have looked at the guys who are there and I think we are very close to finalising the team and we are looking good‚” he said.

“The batting unit has been in order and I think they are ready to do special things at the World Cup next year. The Aussie tour will be a good test for us even though they are not performing that well at the moment.

“It is still not easy to get out there but when I look at the squad it is a really good team and I am excited of what’s to come.”

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