India coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday urged South African batsman AB de Villiers to come out of international retirement after he hit an explosive 73 in the Indian Premier League.
The 36-year-old, who ended his international career two years ago, smashed six sixes in a 33-ball blitz in Sharjah on Monday that set up a big win for the Royal Challengers Bangalore over the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Accolades poured in for the former Proteas captain, with Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli calling his teammate "super-human".
"What one saw last night was unreal," Shastri wrote on Twitter.
In a direct plea to de Villiers, Shastri added: "The game in these trying times or otherwise needs you back in the international arena and out of retirement. The game will be better off."
De Villiers called time on illustrious South Africa career in May 2018 after playing 114 Tests and 228 one-day matches with a batting average of over 50 in both formats.
Reports emerged that De Villiers wanted to come out of retirement and play for the national team in the 2019 World Cup, but a return never materialised.
Earlier this year, De Villiers hinted he may return for the Twenty20 World Cup, scheduled to be held this year, that was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His IPL form — three half-centuries and a strike rate of over 185 in seven games — has added to talk of a comeback.
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While the Delhi side (20 points from 13 matches) has made sure of a top-two finish, a defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday night has dented RCB's chances of ending second in the points table.
Since taking over as RCB's captain in 2013, Kohli has led the team to the playoffs four times, including the last two seasons, and the final in 2016.
Harshal stressed that Kohli, who has decided to step down as India T20 captain after the upcoming World Cup and RCB skipper post the ongoing IPL, remains a "leader".