Unfit AB remains in Proteas squad
AB DE VILLIERS failed a fitness test Thursday and will not be part of the Titans team that will take on the Sydney Sixers in the second Champions League T20 semifinal at Centurion on Friday.
But De Villiers remains in the SA squad that leaves for Australia tomorrow to defend the Proteas’ number one Test ranking.
“He’s not fit enough to join us — he’s still getting a recurrence of lower back pain,” Titans coach Matthew Maynard said yesterday.
“Hopefully the conditioning that he is doing will mean he’s fine for the tour. But we certainly don’t want him playing when the tour is so close.”
SA team manager Mohammed Moosajee was hopeful that De Villiers would be ready in time for the first Test in Brisbane on November 9.
“When he came back from the World T20 and saw the specialist and had scans, we said we were looking at a three-week window for him to have adequate rest, core work and rehabilitation,” Moosajee said.
“That three weeks is up, and it’s only now that a lot of the injury symptoms will subside. He should be on track; if not it could be a week or so.”
Moosajee said De Villiers might have to relinquish, at least some of the time, the SA wicketkeeping gloves he currently wears in all three formats.
“In the short term, if he has intermittent rest and time for his body to recover, he will be fine,” he said.
“But if he has no rest over a period of time, you are always going to have the challenges. Sanity has to prevail somewhere along the line.”
Among the Titans’ aims today will be to avoid the kind of disaster that befell them in their third group match, against the Kolkata Knight Riders at Newlands on Sunday.
KKR racked up 188-5 and sent the Titans packing for 89 to win by 99 runs.
Maynard’s team will need to perform far better than that against a Sydney outfit that has looked the business in winning all four of their group matches.
“More times than not, we’ll play like we did in the first two games (in which the Titans beat the Perth Scorchers and the Auckland Aces) as opposed to the third game,” Maynard said. “I’d be very surprised if Sydney are as carefree as KKR were.”
A sold-out Centurion crowd urged the Titans on to victory against the Scorchers, and Maynard wanted more of the same today.
“A big crowd is what gives you the home ground advantage,” he said. “If the stadium is only a third or a quarter full there’s not enough atmosphere created by your supporters to make that much of a difference. But 10 000 people in here will be key.”
Sydney’s Peter Nevill also expected the crowd to be a factor: “A big, hostile crowd — I imagine that will be the biggest hurdle of all.”