De Villiers keen to become world’s best batsman

South Africa’s AB de Villiers wants to concentrate on becoming the world’s best batsman rather than taking a role as full-time wicketkeeper.

“I don’t want to keep wicket, I want to bat at number four for my country and take the responsibility of scoring hundreds,” De Villiers, who kept wicket at the start of his test career, said on Tuesday.

“If I took over the gloves I would have to bat six or seven, and you’re not going to be the world’s best batsman playing in that position. I want the opportunity to score double hundreds and push my average to 60.”

De Villiers sometimes fills in for Mark Boucher in one dayers and there have been suggestions that if he took over the role permanently, it would allow South Africa to include JP Duminy and Ashwell Prince in their batting line-up.

But the 25-year-old, who will play his 50th test when the first test against Australia begins in Johannesburg on Thursday, said he did not want to experiment with his role in the team.

“I’m very happy and proud to play 50 consecutive tests. I’ve worked hard to get here and in the next 20 tests I’m going to work on getting my average to 50,” said De Villiers, whose test average currently stands at 41.57.

De Villiers said the South Africans would have to be at their best if they were to beat Australia, despite winning the recent series Down Under.

“Australia are still very dangerous and can beat any team, any time. We will be focusing on our own games and sticking to the basics, which we’ll have to do brilliantly.”

De Villiers, who has scored 3201 runs in his 49 tests, said he expected batsmen to have a tough time at the Wanderers.

“There’s normally a bit more swing here, it favours the bowlers more. So Dale Steyn and the boys should have a good advantage and the batsmen will have to be up to scratch,” De Villiers said.

Source: Reuters UK – February 24, 2009 / KEN BORLAND (Edited by PRITHA SARKAR)

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