AB de Villiers needs to ‘press the right buttons’ to get his men performing, says New Zealand great Martin Crowe.
In an open letter on ESPNcricinfo, Crowe, who tipped the Proteas to win the World Cup, said that AB needs to show ‘bold courageous leadership’ and take his inspiration from Madiba.
‘This is your time to march them out, take them home,’ he said. ‘If I were you, AB, I’d reach out and feel the presence of Madiba.’
Crowe also threw his weight behind the beleaguered Wayne Parnell and suggested that he should open the bowling.
‘One of the roles you have to get right is the fourth seamer. Wayne Parnell is your man. Trouble is, he is a rogue and can go walkabout, but he’s likeable and eager, and if his button is correctly pushed, he will be a massive positive for the rocky road ahead. So open with him, giving him a chance to swing the ball, to feel important. Remove his fear, free him to be the best he can be.’
AB’s key role, he added, is to find each person’s button and press it firmly. ‘Look them in the eye and implore that they reveal their individual expression to fit perfectly within the team endeavour.’
Crowe believes that variety and change will freshen the side, suggesting that Dale Steyn should be moved around the bowling order: ‘Give him a list of different roles for a few games: open one day, bowl from middle to death on another. Get him challenged on different fronts to keep him fresh.’
A similar tactic should be applied to Morne Morkel, while JP Duminy should be instructed to ‘drop this flat rubbish he’s bowling. Get him back to flighting the ball sweetly, dipping to create bounce, as he can. Tell him to take wickets, to attack, to be flamboyant. Inspire him.’
As a sign-off, Crowe tells De Villiers: ‘Have a shave, AB, you look ragged and rattled. Smarten up. A touch of polish is required. Since that 31-ball ton, you have got a bit sloppy. You need to lead like never before. Take a leap of faith. Feel Mandela in your bones.’