AB de Villiers has sent out a clear message that he is ready to get back into the South African Test side. The former South African captain marked his return to ODI cricket with a blistering 176 off 104 balls, his career best. De Villiers admitted that, though he feels he is ready, he knows he may not make it to the playing XI in the first try. “If selected, I will be there but I can’t accept that I am going to be in the squad. I have been out of the squad for a while and guys that have come in have done well. You don’t just walk into the Test team,” he said in a press conference, “I am going to have to work my way back. I am prepared to do the hard work.”
Injuries have hampered De Villiers over the past two years. He had last year announced that he would be taking a sabbatical from Tests so as to concentrate on remaining fit for the 2018 World Cup. But, prior to the start of Bangladesh ODI series, De Villiers announced that he is making himself available for the selection into the Test squad. The decision came after Ottis Gibson was announced as South African coach.
“I needed a couple of months away with the family and then Ottis made contact. I had met him before he was announced coach and I knew he was a great guy. He wanted to know where I was headed with my career and I told him I wanted to get back in the side,” said De Villiers.
De Villiers, though, made it clear that he won’t be returning to captaincy. He said that, apart from wanting to play the last few years of his career with freedom, he also believes that current captain Faf Du Plessis can be a great leader. “I had a long run as a captain. I had some fantastic ups, and also quite a few lows in between. I just felt like it was enough,” he said, “I wanted to enjoy the last few years of my career. I know what Faf (du Plessis) is capable of as captain, and I think he’s going to become one of the best leaders we have had in this country. We’re going to give him all the support we can.”
About Gibson, De Villiers said that he is a “a confident man and knows what he wants.” “You get the feeling we know where we are going as a team,” he said.
De Villiers said that he was nervous while going out to bat against Bangladesh. “I was still nervous,” de Villiers said. “It took me an over or so to remember I had a good net in Kimberley and I am in good form. I had to remind myself that I am hitting the ball well. It was great to be out there with Hashim (Amla), he has a very calming influence. I am hitting the ball as well as ever. I just spent a bit of time out there and then some of the boundaries kept flowing.” While others had been struggling to find the boundary, De Villiers was doing it with the ease that he exhibited before injuries started biting.