The beleaguered South African team has received a much-needed boost ahead of the do-or-die fourth One-Day International. Their star batsman AB de Villiers has been declared fit to play the crucial game in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The Proteas have looked down and out in the ongoing series. Trailing the series 3-0, another loss will see them losing first-ever bilateral series against India at home. India won the first ODI by six wickets. Chasing 269, India reached the target inside 46 overs. In the following game, they bundled out the Proteas for just 118 runs before chasing it down by losing just one wicket.  The third ODI also turned out to a non-contest.

Riding on Virat Kohli’s exquisite knock of 160 not out, the Men in Blue posted a massive 303 for 6. In reply, the hosts were all out for just 179.

And at a time when the hosts are in dire need of motivation, de Villiers has been confirmed to play the upcoming game. Earlier, on Thursday, de Villiers was included into the 15-man squad for the final three ODIs after he missed the first three due to injury. However, there were still some doubts regarding him being in the playing XI for the fourth ODI.

De Villiers’ return will boost the batting lineup (Credits: Getty)

According to reports, the former South Africa skipper was seen hitting the balls in the nets on Friday and showed no signs of discomfort. On the eve of the fourth ODI, allrounder Chris Morris heaped praise on de Villiers and said the star batsman brings a lot to the team both on and off the pitch.

“AB is AB. Apart from what he brings on the field, it’s what he brings off the field. He brings that calmness, he brings that experience. To have a world-class player come back and play for South Africa is a special, special occasion,” Morris said on Friday (February 7).

“It’s a special moment for me as I quite enjoy sharing the field with him. It’s a special occasion every time I walk on to the field with AB because to me he is – if not the best – one of the best players in the world and one of the best players to play for South Africa ever. But to the team, he brings so much more than runs, he brings AB de Villiers. The AB de Villiers factor, let’s put it that way,” he added.

India are leading the series 3-0 (Credits: BCCI)

Spin woes:

De Villiers’ addition will also help the South African batsmen get some tips on how to deal with Indian spinners. In three ODIs so far, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have accounted for 21 wickets and have given just 190 runs in the process. Both the spinners are the prime reasons behind the hosts’ dismal batting performance so far.

Chahal and Kuldeep have run riot against the hosts (Credits: BCCI)

“Look AB has always got inputs, doesn’t matter if it’s spin, seam, behind the back. It doesn’t matter what inputs he’s got, it’s always good. I’m sure AB will have a few pointers for the guys on how to handle spin and how to play spin, maybe a few different attacking options but like I said, it doesn’t matter what advice because he’s got advice for everything and it’s always solid. When AB talks, you listen because it’s always helpful,” Morris said.

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