AB de Villiers will lead South Africa in the third Test at the Wanderers on Thursday making no promise that he will commit to the captaincy beyond this series.
South Africa’s new captain also warned cricket’s governing body that more top players will reconsider their futures in the international cricket unless something is done to reduce what have become crippling workloads.
De Villiers made an explosive start to what could be a short stint at the helm of South Africa’s Test team when he addressed the media at Johannesburg’s imposing venue ahead of Thursday’s all-important match.
He made it clear that he will not guarantee that his appointment as Hashim Amla’s successor will last any longer that two remaining Tests of this series and will urgent talks with his board after the final match in Centurion.
The thing is that more and more of the world’s best players want to cash in the lucrative Twenty 20 domestic tournaments like the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big bash and international cricket is under threat as a result.
‘There have been a few rumours floating around and in most rumours about my future is always a little bit of truth’, said De Villiers. ‘It is not just in the last while, in the last two or three years, I’ve been searching for the right answers to play a little bit less cricket in one way or another to keep myself fresh and to keep enjoying the game.
‘I’ve found myself on the pitch in the past few years, every now and then, not enjoying myself as much as I should be and that raises concerns within myself.
‘I’ve been searching for answers and speaking to a few people and that has leaked a little bit.’
AB de Villiers this statement proved that he will be captain for only two series.
‘I’m still very committed, but to the job I’m not sure,’ said De Villiers. ‘Obviously, the two Test matches, for now, is all I’m focusing on, and there is a nice six-month break before we play Test match cricket again.
‘Lots of things can happen before then and I don’t want to commit myself too much to everything before then, but, for now, I’m as committed as I can be and I’m very hungry to make a success of the next two Test matches.’
De Villiers feels his situation is also echoed by other leading players around the world. ‘I think it is a growing concern for the International Cricket Council,’ he added.
‘They have been talking about it over the last few years to try to keep everybody fresh. Test cricket is the main format and we all want to be part of that. There are huge traditions in the format but I truly believe there are one or two areas where we can improve.
‘There are big tournaments going on around the world now and you can’t ignore them because financially they make a huge difference to our lives. International cricket is the main one you want to play but one or two things will have to change if that’s still going to happen.’
There was also a warning for England that there will be no more South African Mr Nice Guys as he initialises a change of captaincy from Amal’s mild-mannered style to the more confrontational method.
‘I’ve never been the kind to throw a lot of words around or sledge but I like to have good body language and for the team to have good body language and to be in their face in that way,’ said De Villiers.
‘To really make them feel uncomfortable and to remind them they are away from home and not enjoying the pound and the rand currency too much. Try to make them uncomfortable a little bit. That is how Test cricket should be played and that is the way I will try and lead tomorrow.’