SA needs to move on from de Villiers, says du Plessis
Manchester, UK – A B de Villiers is unlikely to play Test cricket for South Africa again and it needs to accept that, according to its captain, Faf du Plessis.
In the aftermath of its 1-3 series defeat in England, where batting collapses were a significant cause of South Africa's inability to compete, du Plessis admitted their problems cannot be solved by waiting on de Villiers to make a comeback because that may not happen.
"I would love AB to play - we all know how good he is and we missed him, but we've spent too much time talking about when he is going to come back.
“The hope of him coming back is something we need to move past, we need to find someone else to fulfill that role. If AB comes back it's a huge bonus but I don't expect him to come back into the Test team," du Plessis said.
De Villiers' last Test was 19 months ago against England in Johannesburg, when he was stand-in captain following Hashim Amla's resignation.
Since then, de Villiers had been confirmed permanent leader but had to sit out what would have been in first series in charge - against New Zealand last August - with an injury.
Du Plessis took temporary charge of the side and when it won away in Australia, was asked to do the job full-time. De Villiers needed more time
to recover and conceded the Test team had made strides under du Plessis.
Then, in January this year, de Villiers announced a sabbatical from the longest format until at least December, when South Africa is due to host India.
He cited workload management, with an eye on the 2019 World Cup, as the main reason for his decision.
However, during this tour, it emerged that de Villiers had actually wanted to retire from Tests completely in late 2016 but was persuaded to stay on by CSA.
De Villiers has since said he will make a firm decision on his future when the board announce its plans for the coaching position at the end of this turn. Russell Domingo, who has de Villiers' support, is out of contract and is expected to be replaced by Ottis Gibson which may bring on a full retirement by de Villiers, or at least a hanging-up of his Test whites.
Faf du Plessis
A B de Villiers