Squashing all rumors aside that he might be considering retirement from international cricket, South Africa’s batting icon AB De Villiers is all set to mark his return to the big scene. De Villiers, who last represented South Africa during the Tri-Series in the Caribbean last year, underwent an elbow surgery to heal a long lasting injury that curtailed his style of batting. After missing as many as three Test series against New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka, De Villiers is finally back on the radar.
The Proteas ODI captain will mark his return to international cricket in the third T20I against Sri Lanka on January 25 in Cape Town. If all goes well for the swashbuckling batsman, then he could be leading Proteas in the ODI series which commences on January 28 against Sri Lanka.
The record breaking batsman however, has opted out of South Africa’s upcoming test series in New Zealand, in a bid to manage his hectic workload.
In an interview on a radio channel, De Villiers said his main aim is to play in the 2019 World Cup.
“My main aim is to get to that 2019 World Cup and I am going to do everything possible to get there. It’s important to play the other formats but mentally and physically I need to be in a good space come the 2019 World Cup and that’s what I am aiming for. I know its still a long way away and it’s all about managing that really well in order for me to get there,” said De Villiers.
“I am going to have to make certain choices. It’s not easy for me. I have always been the go-ahead guy, the team man, never want to miss a game for South Africa and I still do, but the schedules these days, it’s really tough to play all formats, especially at the age of 32, when most cricketers don’t go past the age of 35. If you do the math, it takes to me to 2019, 2020 at the most. Hopefully by then I will still be fit and be there to lift the trophy with the boys,” De Villiers added.
Team manager Mohammed Moosajee confirmed that De Villiers was about to return to international cricket.
“He went for a scan about 10 days ago which showed that the fracture has healed completely. He has almost been given the go-ahead to start with active rehab and he can start running again. That’s good news for him and for us. Morne Morkel, meanwhile, has taken longer than expected to recover from a back strain,” he said.
“The challenge is that, from his rehab, there are still some symptoms that are there so we are going to have to reassess before making a final decision on his availability for the amateur game,” Moosajee added.
“As you know, backs can be very complicated. We need to make sure that it is symptom-free. It’s more a ‘wait and see’ scenario with him.”