South Africa are in full-on crunch mode going into the ODI at Wanderers on Saturday as they trail 3-0 in the six match series against India. AB de Villiers returns to the South African squad for the last three one-day internationals against India, Cricket South Africa announced on Thursday.
The star batsman missed the first three matches because of a finger injury suffered in the third test against the same opponents last month. There was no immediate word on whether De Villiers had recovered sufficiently to play in the fourth match at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday. He will be assessed when the squad reassembles ahead of the “Pink ODI” in Johannesburg on Friday.
South Africa will be desperate for De Villiers to play after India dominated the first three matches. In what could amount to an admission that South Africa are short of strength in depth, the return of De Villiers is the only change to a squad weakened by injuries to regular captain Faf du Plessis and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock.
South Africa’s batsmen have struggled, particularly against India’s spinners. Du Plessis hit a century in the first game before being injured but JP Duminy, with 51 in the third game in Cape Town, is the only other South African to have made a half-century.
Farhaan Behardien, who was added to the squad after Du Plessis was injured, is the only batsman in the group, other than De Villiers, who has not yet played in the series.
South Africa slipped to a hefty 124-run defeat in Wednesday's key third ODI against India at Newlands in Cape Town. The result resigned the hosts to an insurmountable three-nil deficit in the six-match series. Chasing a staunch 304-run target, the Proteas slumped to a severely insufficient 179 all out in 40 overs. The tourists have not beaten the South Africans in a bilateral ODI series since 2010. Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Centurion will host fixtures four, five and six, respectively.