Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) star batsman AB de Villiers, who missed the IPL 2017 season opener against Sunrisers Hyderabad with a back injury, has confirmed he would not don the wicketkeeping gloves in this year’s Indian Premier League owing to his persistent back injury.
The Protea star has endured an injury-riddled 2016 which forced him to miss Test series against New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka.
And with the ICC Champions Trophy just a couple of months away, the 33-year old, it seems, is not willing to take any risk with his fitness.
“I will definitely not consider wicketkeeping. “I’ll miss the next five years if I start keeping again. My back won’t allow that. My back is sore because of all those years of keeping.”
Earlier, RCB head coach Daniel Vettori said de Villiers could stand behind the stump in the absence of KL Rahul, who has been ruled out of the entire tournament due to a shoulder injury.
But with de Villiers not willing to take the wicketkeeping responsibility, RCB is likely to persist with Kedar Jadhav, who kept the wickets in the first game.
Meanwhile, de Villiers has revealed he is still not sure about his participation in the second match which is against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday (April 8).
Expressing his desperation to get back to the cricket field, the South Africa star said he would not do that unless he recovers fully.
“Even though I’m very very keen to get on the field, I’ll make sure that I’m 100% fit. Because, if you go on the park and you’re 90%, you might be out for longer anyway. It doesn’t make sense. I am going to test it out this afternoon. We’ve got a nets session. I’ll hit a couple of balls, see what it feels like, and then we’ll make a call.”
De Villiers further said his team was always going to find it tough against the defending champions without some of their key players. With Virat Kohli and KL Rahul along with de Villiers missing from the starting eleven, RCB lost the opening match by 35 runs, their worst loss in terms of runs since April 2013.
“Last night’s game was always going to be difficult. It is the first game of the season. The team that played the final last year and the team that played last night, I think there were about five or six changes. So, it was always going to be difficult to hit the ground running without Virat, myself, and KL Rahul, all leaders in their own right. But I have never doubted the skill and the talent of the team. I have no doubt in my mind that we will come back strong from this.”
De Villiers also had a word of praise for Kohli’s remarkable rise as a captain. Revealing that he had doubted Kohli’s future as a captain due to his emotional attitude, the right-handed batsman said:
“I think it has been an amazing journey to watch him grow as a leader. I think, at the start, when the people mentioned to me he has leadership qualities and might become a captain one day, I doubted it. I thought he was emotional with his reactions.
Kohli had enjoyed a highly successful home season. The 28-year old led his team to Test series wins against New Zealand (3-0), England (4-0), Bangladesh (1-0) and Australia (2-1).
“I think he has found a way to deal with it. He has shown he has skills with his captaincy and he has taken all the doubters and showed them he can conquer anything. He did not have the best of series with a bat in hand in the last series (against Australia) but what stood out for me was his leadership. He led from the front and that showed. I think that’s the greatest test for a captain – when you don’t do well personally and how you come through as a captain,” he added.