Durban: AB de Villiers will open the batting for South Africa in the first Twenty20 against Pakistan in Durban on Friday, team's captain Faf du Plessis said on Thursday.
"We just feel that AB is one of the best batsmen in the world. He's one of those guys who on his day can score a century. There are not a lot of players like that in the world and we feel AB is definitely that, an X-factor player," Du Plessis told a news conference.
Du Plessis said it was important in T20 cricket that the team's best batsman got the chance to face the most balls and de Villiers was ideally suited for the role. The skipper also pointed out that the decision was taken looking forward to the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Bangladesh next year.
"There are only a handful of players in the world that can score centuries up front. Without putting any extra pressure on AB he is a fantastic player, he is a great striker of the ball, he plays proper cricket shots and he can also take the game away from the opposition. He is good against spin and seam and he a natural flair player. He will combine well with Henry Davids, who is a player who will take you on all the time, and AB will offer a good balance in that opening partnership," du Plessis added.
De Villiers, who handed over the T20 reign to du Plessis recently, has opened the batting for South Africa early on in his career but gave up the role to give more solidity to the middle order. Du Plessis also confirmed that left-arm pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe recovered from his ankle injury and would play the Friday T20 but left-arm spinner Robin Peterson had a stiff back and his availability would depend on the fitness test prior to the match.
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