He said Vilas hardly had the chance to make his mark in Bangladesh where the series was disrupted by the weather.
Quinton de Kock was omitted for the second test against Bangladesh after looking out of touch in the first half of 2015. He contributed 145 runs at an average of 20.71 in the Cricket World Cup and was dismissed for a duck in the first test against Bangladesh in July 2015.
The aggressive left-handed batsman redeemed himself with three consecutive centuries on the South Africa A-tour of India. It included 113 off 102 balls in the first unofficial test against India A as he reached 2000 first-class runs in his 29th match.
Yet, despite his heroics for South Africa A, the selectors preferred Vilas in the Test squad, while opening the door for De Kock to display his prowess in the One Day Internationals and T20-matches against India.
“It is nice that the selectors have shown faith in me and that I have been given another opportunity. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a great chance in my test debut (due to the bad weather). Everybody wants to be selected, but once selected one has to refocus your goal,” said Vilas about his selection.
“It would be a dream to score a century in India, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Ultimately, it is about performing. I just want to bat well, keep well and do well for the team.”
Justin Kemp, a former South African all-rounder and current Cape Cobras player, encouraged Vilas to employ a positive mind-set about his position.
“They (the national selectors) have obviously identified Quinton as a young guy with a hell of a talent and as somebody for the future. His batting has let him down.
“What Dane has to do, is to have a real go in India. If he scores a couple of centuries and performs well, who knows, he might play (for South Africa) until he is 36,” said Kemp.
“Realize this opportunity as one to score runs,” he said.
“He will not die wondering, but will give his 150 % best,” Kemp added.
Paul Adams, a former South African wrist-spinner and current Cape Cobras coach, said the gauntlet has been thrown down, and Vilas must grab his opportunities. He boasts vast experience, and his performance under pressure will be a vital ingredient of his success.
Jacques Kallis, a legendary former South African player, said some of the keys to the longevity of Boucher (who represented South Africa in 147 tests and 295 One Day Internationals over a period of 14 years) were his pursuit of improvement and his consistent excellence.
“He was not flashy, but did the job almost unnoticed week in and week out with gloves and bat,” Kallis said.
When Boucher was dropped in the 2004/2005-series against England, he looked in the mirror as a proud man with character and did look for excuses, but improved his performances,” Kallis said.
“It is about improving, not only in every game, but virtually in every training session.”
Jimmy Cook, a former South African batsman, applauded the national selectors for retaining Vilas as a test wicketkeeper and for reinstating De Kock in the limited-overs formats.
“Dane is up for the job behind the stumps. His wicket-keeping has improved enormously over the years,” he said.