Cricket

Coronavirus Outbreak: Schedule uncertainty preventing AB de Villiers from committing to a comeback

  • FirstCricket Staff
  • April 30th, 2020
  • 19:35:02 IST

AB de Villiers made a shock retirement in 2018 but has since shown interest to return to the international side. Despite retiring from international cricket, the former South Africa player has been part of the T20 leagues including turning up for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

File image of AB de Villiers. Reuters

File image of AB de Villiers. Reuters

The former captain said there is desire from his end to return to the international fold but admitted that he will only make a comeback if he feels that he has earned his place in the side.

"I don’t have an honest answer yet," said de Villiers on Star Sports' Cricket Connected on the possibility of a comeback. "What I can share with you guys is that the desire is there from my side. The desire to get me involved with the Proteas have been shown by Cricket South Africa as well. With Mark Boucher as coach and Graeme Smith as Director, they are keen to get me involved which is very pleasing to hear. I hope everything works out and there a few things that need to fall in place."

"The most important thing to me is I have to be in the tip-top form and I have to be better than the player next to me. If I deserve a spot in the side it becomes easy for me to feel like I deserve to be in the side and I have earned my spot. I have not been in the Proteas side for a while and I think that is important for myself and for other people as well to see if I am still good enough to play them," he added.

"I feel like my desire to play again. I am hungry now to perform I always wanted to play for South Africa and it has been privilege and honour to wear your country’s badge on your heart hopefully that happens again and I will do everything I can to give myself that opportunity again."

The 36-year-old played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20s for the national side before his retirement.

Boucher had earlier said that De Villiers would be considered for the T20 World Cup later in the year only if he shows good form and proves himself to be the "best man for the job".

"I had some discussions with Boucher during the Mzansi Super League. We had a lot of fun with the Tshwane Spartans the team that I played for. With Boucher as coach I really enjoyed my time there. Boucher is a born leader, a natural leader. When he speaks you listen because he says the right things at right time but secondly he backs with 147 Test matches, a lot of ODIs and a lot of experience playing international cricket."

"When I listen to him I do feel like there is always something to learn so I really enjoy him as a coach and we started talking about my enjoyment for the game which he could see on my face when I was playing for his team, he asked me where does this comes from and why do you have so much energy and why do love the game so much doesn’t it mean you have a story to tell at the international level. I told him I have never closed that book I always wanted to play I had some obstacles to cover in last 3-4 years from a personal point of view. I always loved playing cricket and always loved hitting the cricket ball there were a lot of other factors involved in me not contributing the game as much as I should have."

De Villiers acknowledged the reason behind him not fully committing to a return was the cancellation to the sport forced by the pandemic. All matches have been cancelled with IPL a casualty as well. Biggest tournament on the calendar this year is the T20 World Cup in October and November in Australia. But the future of the 16-team event remains in the balance.

"The schedule for next 12 months is unclear with the virus hitting and what is going to happen with the cricket schedule around the world. That is one of my big worries and reasons why I am not committing to any cricket at the moment. Once I get an opportunity to go outside my house is to start hitting the cricket ball and to get into that form that I was in 2015 and lets say in the latter half of my career when I was playing cricket I really want to get into that form of playing cricket as quickly as I can. I want to focus but there is a lot of uncertainty in terms of scheduling of cricket over the next 12 months we will have to see what is going to happen."

Amid the lockdown, an outdoorsy AB has been focusing on setting a routine. "I have got a new workout , I have got a small gym in my home where I run a lot on my treadmill and I have the basics when it comes to dumbbells and I have mats to do my floor exercise as well. So I have kept myself busy with that I have got. Two toddlers: 3 and 5 years old have kept me busy. We do a little bit of school work online, me and my wife work throughout the day with our toddlers. At night when the kids are off to sleep, we have an hour or two to ourselves and we watch a bit of TV that keeps us busy and entertained. The most important for me and my wife this lockdown has been health and good routine," he concluded.

Updated Date: April 30, 2020 19:35:02 IST

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