South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has stoked the conversation around AB de Villiers' possible return to international cricket by saying that talks have been going on for over two months now.
"People want AB to play and I am no different. Those conversations have been happening for two or three months already: what does it look like, how does it look over the next year, and that's where it starts." du Plessis said, according to a report in ESPNcricinfo, after his Paarl Rocks team won the Mzansi Super League final on Monday night against Tshwane Spartans, which has de Villiers in their ranks.
De Villiers, who is considered as one of the best batsmen the world over for his innovative shot-making, especially suited to limited-overs cricket, called time on his international career last year citing "tiredness" and the need for him to "step aside" and let youngsters play for South Africa.
De Villiers, who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), continues to score big in T20 leagues around the world. He had a stellar Mzansi Super League season — 325 runs in nine matches at 46.62 — scoring a fine 51 off 37 balls for his side Tshwane Spartans in the final.
In the build-up to the World T20 next year, South Africa's T20I schedule isn't too taxing. There will be three matches each against England and Australia at home, before a tour of the West Indies.
A white-ball series in Sri Lanka is also on the cards, although, nothing is finalised. If De Villiers does indeed return to the international fold, he won't be required to play all the matches as he will be involved in the IPL, so adequate game-time won't be an issue.
"Test cricket now is the most important thing but also the T20 World Cup is not too far away and there isn't a lot — I reckon 20 T20s over the season — which won't be that hard on one to do that. Those conversations have already taken place." du Plessis added.
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Three Twenty20 internationals against Sri Lanka have also been added to the programme, with the ECB having previously announced England will play a one-day series against the same opponents.
Shakib, playing his first ODI after a one-year ban, helped Bangladesh bowl out a weakened West Indies for 122 in just 32.2 overs.
A three-Test tour was originally scheduled to take place during February and March but an aborted limited overs tour by England late last year led to speculation that either the tour might not take place or that it could be switched to Perth in Western Australia.