Batting great Barry Richards has weighed in on the AB De Villiers captaincy debate, believing it best that he step down from the role.
Richards feels the issue surrounding the ODI captaincy should have been nipped in the bud some time ago to prevent it from reaching the proportions it has of late.
‘The De Villiers thing has escalated. It’s become a bigger issue than it should have been. It should have been managed a lot better a long time ago,’ Richards told the media at a sponsored press conference in London.
The 71-year-old is also of the opinion that if De Villiers is to rediscover his best form with the bat, he should relinquish the captaincy to Faf du Plessis.
‘Faf [du Plessis] has done a very good job and I think he can do a good job in all three formats. If AB wants to carry on playing he should give away the captaincy and concentrate on his batting. He’s a wonderful player, but in the last few months I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him,’ he commented.
Richards also hopes that in Heino Kuhn the Proteas may have found a batsman who can provide stability along with Dean Elgar at the top of the order for years to come.
‘He’s mentally pretty strong, but there’s always pressure. A Test match is a pressure, Lord’s is a pressure, your first Test match is a pressure. Stephen Cook, he’s 34, he’s had a go and they’ve been battling to get that position right. But if he (Kuhn) does it well, he’s got a (Test) career for three or four years,’ he remarked.
The right-hander also highlighted the importance of Hashim Amla being in the runs if the Proteas are to win their third successive Test series in England.
‘He’s starting to realise that everything that used to work so well at 25, doesn’t work so well at 34. One of the key parts of the series is Amla versus the fast bowlers and Hashim Amla versus himself,’ he said.
Richards also offered his thoughts on the role of the Proteas bowling attack ahead of the England series.
The first Test begins at Lord’s on 6 July.
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