De Villiers is eyeing return to Test arena
AB de VILLIERS has stepped down as South Africa’s one-day captain – but will still be available for selection in all three formats of the game.
De Villiers, 33, had been captain for six years and played for the Proteas in the T20 series against England last month, while he also captained the ODI side in the Champions Trophy, where they failed to reach the semi-finals.
He hasn’t played a Test match though since January 2016, missing South Africa’s series defeat in England because he “needed a bit of time away from the game”.
De Villiers said: “Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the T20 and Test teams, and bearing this in mind, I have informed Cricket South Africa that I would like to step down as captain of the ODI team.
“It has been an honour to lead the team for the past six years, but it is now time for someone else to take the ODI side forward. Whoever is chosen as the new ODI captain will have my complete support.
“Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived. I want to get back on the field and I have today assured the national selectors that I will be available for selection in all three formats of the game during the coming season.
“There is plenty of hard work ahead in the nets and I must prepare properly, but I will be ready to play, if required, from the middle of October.”
De Villiers has made more than 8,000 runs in Test cricket, averaging over 50, while his average is even higher in ODIs.
South Africa next host Bangladesh in two Tests, starting on September 28, while India and Australia will tour in early 2018.
Until this week it had been considered unlikely De Villiers would return to the Test arena with Du Plessis saying: “I would love AB to play but we’ve spent too much time talking about when he is going to come back.
“That hope 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.”