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AB de Villiers backs De Kock to produce his best

AB de Villiers says De Kock still has what it takes to win games and is a prominent part of the squad.

FILE: South Africa's Quinton de Kock walks away after losing a wicket to UAE during the last Pool B match of the Cricket World Cup on 12 March 2015. Picture: CWC.

JOHANNESBURG - Proteas captain AB de Villiers continues to back Quinton de Kock while a cloud of uncertainty hangs over his role at this World Cup.

De Kock has been out of form during the tournament and may not play in the quarterfinal match.

He managed to make 26 runs against the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, this was only the second time he reached double figures in the tournament.

South Africa are likely to face Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals and de Villiers says no decision has been made yet.

"We'll obviously discuss the team selection moving forward. Russell and I will sit down and discuss all the different possibilities and combinations that we do have and we'll make that final call once we get closer to the time."

De Villiers says de Kock still has what it takes to win games and is a prominent part of the squad.

"There is no doubt in my mind that he's a match winner and I said it before, he's going to play a big part in this World Cup. So I'd hate to see him go but it's something that we'll discuss moving forward. But for now he's still my first pick and like I said, he's going to play a big knock for us when the time is right."

He says taking over wicket keeping duties will be a last resort for the team.

De Villiers has been off keeping duty with de Kock behind the stumps.

The skipper says this will put his captaincy under immense pressure, and complicates his communication ability with the team.

"Look, personally I don't want to keep. It's a lot of pressure on me as a captain. I've got more time without the gloves on my hands. I feel like I can get to my bowlers and the communication is much better. So it will be a last resort for us to move into that direction."

MOVE DE KOCK UP

Former fast bowler Fanie de Villiers says the sooner de Kock is moved down the order, the better.

"De Kock did get few runs on the board but I think what we've all seen is that he's not really in form. He's probably going to put pressure on the other guys in the batting, we need to move him down the order to seven and open with Rossouw.

"But I was really hoping he could strike because we do need him early."

While the Proteas bowling attack hasn't been at its best, Fanie says the team's biggest concern lies elsewhere.

"I do believe that Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn are still good enough to rescue us later, but that's not really where the problem is. The problem is very much the batting second. If we lose the toss and South Africa bat second, it seems to me we do struggle to chase on those days."

Fanie says the biggest selection issue is who to play between Kyle Abbott and Vernon Philander.

The man nicknamed 'Vinnege Fanie' was in doubt about who he would choose.

"At this stage, Kyle Abbott is in form. He bowls five, six, seven km/h quicker than Philander. He's a true swing bowler and that can make a big difference, especially earlier on where you need penetration."

'DE KOCK CAN CAUSE MAJOR DAMAGE '

Although former South African captain Kepler Wessels says it's pointless to drop de Kock at this stage, he still backs the opening batsman to produce the goods.

Wessels says when de Kock gets going, he can cause a lot of damage to the opposition.

"He's a sort of player that's talented, he's very explosive and dynamic at the top of the order. So if it's his day he can win the match for you on his own, so he definitely got the ability to do that, it's just the case of his confidence, it's a little bit down at the moment. Technically he's not playing as well as he has been."

Wessels says should the Proteas face likely opponents Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals, they will go into that match with a slight edge over the Islanders.

The Proteas have one of the most lethal batting orders and bowling attacks in the competition that have worked well to see the side clinch massive victories.

Wessels says Sri Lanka's bowling is a little inferior to the South Africans.

"We've definitely got, I think, the better balanced team. Sri Lanka very strong as well as batting is concerned but not strong in the bowling department, so that's an area that the Proteas can exploit."

He says the team will have to sort out its lack of an extra wicket taking bowler.

"Part of the reason is because a swift bowling problem that we have and that the opposition sometimes get away with AB de Villiers having to manage bowlers and change them around to try and accommodate all bowlers at the same time."

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