Cricket 2020: South African Faf du Plessis on AB de Villiers T20 World Cup return, hints, rumours
AB de Villiers will be welcomed back into the South African team ahead of the T20 World Cup, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis said.
Batting star De Villiers, who retired from international cricket in 2018, was quoted as saying he was keen to return.
The 114-Test, 228 ODI and 78 T20I veteran shocked the world with his sudden retirement, revealing the pressure to always perform as one of the big issues, alongside injury troubles and wanting more personal and family time.
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There have also been rumblings of issues with the board in South Africa which were exacerbated when he was refused a return for the 2019 World Cup in England.
He made himself available for the tournament last year, only to be rejected, with officials saying he left it too late and calling him up would be unfair to other players.
South Africa finished the tournament in seventh, ahead of only Bangladesh, the West Indies and Afghanistan with three wins from nine games.
But with former teammates including Graeme Smith, Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis now in important position in the South African system, it appears the path is a bit clearer for his return.
Earlier this week he said he had been talking with former captain Smith, South Africa’s interim director of cricket, as well as coach Boucher and captain Du Plessis.
Speaking on the eve of South Africa’s third Test against England, Du Plessis hinted that De Villiers’s return was almost a done deal, although both De Villiers and South African assistant coach Enoch Nkwe have emphasised that it is far from finalised.
“We spoke about it, and I was very keen to have him back,” Du Plessis said. “That was even before the new coaching staff was on board. Then it was the process of what does the next year look like in terms of T20 cricket-how many games; where, when, what? And then trying to unfold that in a way that we can get him back.
“He’s keen to come to do that I don’t know when. I can’t give you that answer yet because that decision hasn’t been taken. But there would be a series we would like to get him back to play.
“In an ideal world, we would like to try and make sure that we can play our best 11, 12, 13 players for a few games or series together leading up to the T20 World Cup.”
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Wired up in the field for the BBL match between De Villiers’ Brisbane Heat and the Adelaide Strikers, the South African superstar again opened up on his future plans with the T20 World Cup coming up in Australia later this year.
“I would love to play, that was never the problem, I always wanted to play for South Africa,” he said. “It’s obviously a great honour to play international cricket. Bouchey (coach Mark Boucher), Smithy (director Graeme Smith) and some of the boys are back involved, we’ve been chatting and I’m hoping everything will work out. We’ll see what happens Huss.
“I’ve spent the last six or seven weeks with Bouchey in the local tournament the Mzansi and we’ve had a few good discussions about the possible way forward, I’m going to have to score some runs obviously.
“We’ve had some fun together and played quite a few years together at international level. I would love to be involved, I’m going to have to score some runs and keep fit and hopefully they’ll pick me, we’ll see what happens. I can’t give you much more than that at the moment.”
But if De Villiers did return to the international arena, he admitted it would likely just be in shorter forms of cricket.
“Watching some of the Test matches over December at home I was definitely thinking it would be really nice to be out there but things have changed in my life,” the 35-year-old De Villiers said. “It’s just the situation I’m stuck with at the moment. I don’t want to play for 11 or 12 months of the year anymore. It’s just too much. ODIs, I wouldn’t stay completely out of the equation but Test matches I’m pretty much done.”
— with AFP
Originally published as Star’s shock T20 World Cup done deal