Kirsten undecided on AB's keeping future
South Africa head coach Gary Kirsten says he hasn't yet decided about AB de Villiers' future behind the stumps, saying they were exploring all their options as they look to reduce the pressure on the limited-overs captain's shoulders.
De Villiers was relieved of his wicketkeeping duties for the ODI series against New Zealand in order to focus on his batting and leadership, meaning 2-0-year-old Quinton de Kock was given the gloves, and aside from a few mistakes, he seemed to cope well.
De Villiers had said before the series that he felt 'rushed' when performing all three tasks in one game, and wanted to take a break from keeping as well as rest his lower back, but Kirsten said it wasn't quite as simple as that.
The former Proteas opener said: "In terms of our situation with AB, it's more exploratory. We are going through a phase of exploring and understanding his keeping. We haven't closed the door on whether he will become our one-day keeper.
"The decision not to keep in this one-day series was a very specific decision which wasn't his own. He is not making his own decisions. There is a process we go through in the team. Individuals don't just stand up and make their own calls.
"We felt that it might be a good idea for this series specifically that AB had an opportunity to focus on his captaincy. He is a young captain and there is a lot to do on the field."
Kirsten added that he was disappointed about De Villiers' two-match suspension for slow over rates, saying it was a missed opportunity to develop his leadership ahead of the Champions' Trophy in June.
The coach said: "I had a concern right from the outset when I spoke to the selectors that doing the job of batting at No. 4, captaining and keeping was going to be really tough on him. He was happy to do it. He is always happy to do it.
"I just felt I would like to see him focus on his captaincy so it is really unfortunate what has unfolded where he is missing two games and is not able to gain more experience in his captaincy."
He added of the upcoming series against Pakistan, and De Kock's future: "We are thinking where we want to go long-term. If you look at the Test team: it's foolproof in many ways although we have brought in a lot of new players. I don't want to make rushed decisions.
"The one nice thing about AB not keeping is that it has given us the opportunity to explore another young talent in Quinton de Kock. He has done a good job behind the stumps and has shown real potential with the bat.
"There's been a lot of talk about him and it's nice that he has been given an opportunity at a higher level."