De Villiers absence could bring best out of Proteas - Domingo


South Africa coach Russell Domingo hopes that AB de Villiers' self-imposed Test exile can bring the best out of the Proteas batsmen who remain in the team.

De Villiers will play no part in five-day series against New Zealand, England or Bangladesh - having given up the captaincy of the Test side.

The Proteas whitewashed Sri Lanka 3-0 without De Villiers - Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Quinton De Kock and JP Duminy all scoring centuries.

And Domingo hopes that cabal of batsmen can grasp the mantle in Test series to come without De Villiers - who made his first international appearance since June in Wednesday's five-wicket T20I defeat to Sri Lanka.

"The worst thing about it is that he's not going to play for us. The best thing is that it gives everybody in the side a bit of peace of mind," Domingo said after Sri Lanka wrapped up the T20 series.

"They know what's going on... there's clarity. There's nobody looking over their shoulder wondering if he's going to be the one to go because AB is going back.

"It gives us a bit of breathing space for the batters to really knuckle down, focus on their game and not be too concerned about when AB de Villiers is coming back."

De Villiers comeback, though in defeat, was impressive.

He came in at number three and top-scored for South Africa with 63 runs off 44 balls, but Niroshan Dickwella's 68 helped Sri Lanka to victory and a 2-1 series scoreline.

"He was nervous. It was almost as if he was playing his debut," Domingo said of De Villiers.

"He was very edgy, which is great as it shows how much it still means to perform. That's exciting for us because it's almost like a little rebirth for him after six months off.

"He played the situation really well and we always wanted him to have a bit of time at the crease with the ODI series coming up. We're just pleased that he's got some runs behind his name and some time in the middle.

"He's one of the best batters in the world and it's great to have him back. It's good to see him finding a little bit of form and looking fresh and hungry. It bodes well for the rest of our summer."