World Cup 2019 the goal for AB
CRICKET South Africa will continue to negotiate with AB de Villiers about his international future but the organisation’s chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, insisted that De Villiers is not picking and choosing when he wants to play Test cricket.
Instead it’s about De Villiers managing his schedule with an eye on playing in the 2019 World Cup. De Villiers will play no part in the three-Test series in New Zealand. “I will be there for the ODIs, and I’m definitely not retiring from Test cricket because I have plans to come back at some stage. For now the most important thing is the 2019 World Cup,” De Villiers said at the launch of the “Pink Day ODI” at the Wanderers yesterday.
“I want to make sure we lift that trophy. Obviously there are other factors that play a role like family and time away from home, but the main reason for me is that World Cup and I feel if I play all formats all the time then mentally and physically I won’t be at my best.”
Lorgat said that for planning purposes De Villiers would have to inform CSA, the national coaching staff and the national selectors in good time about whether he is available for a particular Test series. “It can’t be the day or the week before. He needs to indicate in good time,” he said.
“It’s not picking and choosing. If the selectors and team feel they have a winning formula going, AB is fully aware that it is the selectors who will determine whether he will come back into the team or not,” Lorgat explained.
De Villiers, because he is captain, must be play every One-Day International, said Lorgat.
The 32-year-old will return for the third T20 International against Sri Lanka next Wednesday in Cape Town after missing the last six months of action with an elbow injury that required surgery in November. He said the elbow was close to being 100 percent and that he needs just a couple of weeks so that he can get the last “one or two degrees to help it straighten completely”.
South Africa face a heavy and high-profile Test schedule over the next 14 months that, following New Zealand, includes four Tests in England, four against India and four against Australia, the latter two series on home soil. “What we are doing and tended to do is to take it a series at a time,” said Lorgat about CSA’s negotiations with De Villiers.
“I’m confident that by the time we are looking at England, the Champions Trophy, he’ll be fully fit, raring to go, his appetite would have returned.”
Cricket SA are confident De Villiers’s series-toseries decision won’t have any effect on the Test team – not hugely – because, as Lorgat explained, sufficient player depth has been created. “We’ve got enough talent that wants to represent South Africa. We’ve built the team without AB, that’s a very big positive. The absence of AB has allowed others to step up.”
If De Villiers is allowed to choose which Tests to play and informs CSA in a timely fashion, it could open up time for him to play in various T20 leagues around the world. He already has a lucrative contract in the IPL and last year made his first appearance in the Caribbean Premier League – where he injured his elbow. If, for example, he doesn’t want to play against India at the end of the year it opens the opportunity to play in the Big Bash in Australia, where it is understood, some franchises have already put out feelers about his availability. “It’s very difficult (for South Africa) to compete money-wise with those kind of attractions,” said Lorgat.
“We’ve built a kind of identity, a structure – about why you should play for the Proteas, why you should be proud to represent your country.”
De Villiers, who also confirmed that he and wife Danielle were expecting their second child, played the last of his 106 Tests in Centurion in January 2016 against England, making nought in each innings.