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'Genius' AB De Villiers Changed the Game, Says SA Batting Coach Benkenstein

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: January 6, 2018, 8:41 AM IST
'Genius' AB De Villiers Changed the Game, Says SA Batting Coach Benkenstein

AB de Villiers celebrates scoring a Half-Century during day one of the First Test between South Africa and India in Cape Town. (Image: AFP)

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Cape Town: South Africa batting coach Dale Benkenstein praised genius AB de Villiers and said that his partnership with captain Faf du Plessis changed the game for the hosts.

"At 12/3, it was not the best feeling as a batting coach. I was thinking of taking an Uber and leaving for the hotel because I didn't know how we were going to score runs on this wicket, India are a quality bowling attack. The class and genius of AB and the tenacity of our captain (Faf du Plessis) changed the momentum of the game, or rather that innings from AB," said Benkenstein at the end of days play.

"That one over (when de Villiers score 17 runs off Bhuvneshwar) was a game-changer. It was definitely the genius of AB. You cannot tell him how to bat as a coach. It made the bowlers worry about their lengths and that partnership of 100 runs got us back in the game. It brought belief back in the change room," he added.

Berkenstein also added that it was a tough decision to bat first but something that was in the best interests of the team.

"It was a tough decision to bat first. Conditions were such that we would have liked to play an extra batsman. With AB and Faf back, we had our top six batsmen, so we wanted to go with our best bowling attack. As a group we felt this was the best team, I am always encouraging our bowlers to bat well. I tell them that three of them are our all-rounders. Most of them can actually bat. And it was really vital that the runs they scored helped us. It is encouraging to have a game plan for such situations. Those runs will give us a cushion later in the game," he added.

He also reserved praise for Steyn, saying his hard work paid off.

"Steyn bowled beautifully. He has done a lot of hard work to get fit and come back. That one wicket will do wonders for him. His pace was up to what he normally bowls with new ball and he will probably crank it up with older ball.

"Hopefully, he will stay fit and his body will hold through this series. From a mental point of view, that was a massive four overs he bowled and it is a huge benefit for us," he added.
First Published: January 6, 2018, 8:35 AM IST
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