Star batsman AB de Villiers has confirmed that he “would love to” represent South Africa at the T20 World Cup later this year in Australia. De Villiers, who announced his international retirement in May 2018, said that the newly-instated management including former teammates Mark Boucher as head coach and Jacques Kallis as batting coach has tempted him to take a U-turn on retirement.
Rumours of De Villiers ending his retirement have been rife with South Africa captain Faf du Plessis saying that conversations of bringing AB back have already begun. De Villiers, who returned to competitive cricket making his debut for Brisbane Heat, scored a composed 40 off 32 balls as his team beat the Adelaide Strikers by seven wickets and dropped the information right after the win.
“There’s a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality. I would love to. I’ve been talking to ‘Bouch’ (new South Africa coach Mark Boucher), (new director of cricket) Graeme Smith and (captain) Faf (du Plessis) back home, we’re all keen to make it happen,” he said.
“It’s a long way away still, and plenty can happen – there’s the IPL coming up, I’ve still got to be in form at that time. So I’m thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out.
“It’s not a guarantee, once again. I don’t want to disappoint myself or other people, so for now I’m just going to try and keep a low profile, try and play the best possible cricket that I can and then see what happens towards the end of the year.”
Talks of de Villiers first took place midway during the 2019 World Cup when South Africa were struggling to perform. After the loss to India, private conversations between de Villiers and du Plessis head leaked, leaving the cricketing fraternity stunned. ABD had put his name in the hat for selection at the last minute being SA’s World Cup squad before for Du Plessis to squashed de Villiers’s plans.
But with de Villiers showing that he’s still got it, he is confident and also happy to see South Africa’s cricket heading in the right direction under Kallis, Boucher and co.
“There are a lot of players (involved with CSA) who I used to play with. Guys who understand the game, leaders of the team for many years. So it’s much easier to communicate than what it used to be in the past. They understand what players go through – especially players that have played for 15 years internationally,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean that everything is going to be sunshine and roses, but it’s definitely a lot easier and it feels comfortable, the language that’s being used and just the feel that everyone has at the moment in South Africa about the cricket.
They’re my friends and I played 10-plus years with them internationally. We’ve been through a lot and it’s great to have them involved again, and as I said, hopefully I’ll be involved again as well pretty soon.”