South African star batsman AB de Villiers is expected to sit out of the upcoming New Zealand Test matches as he looks to strike a balance between his workload ahead of the World Cup 2019 and family responsibilities.
De Villiers has already spent the past six months on the sidelines due to an elbow injury as prepares for the international comeback in the third t20 game against Sri Lanka at Newlands on January 25.
When asked when he would be returning to the Test squad, he commented:
“Not yet. I’m not there yet. The reason being that I just need to settle things in my head. Over the last few years something has come to mind, which is the fact that we haven’t won a World Cup yet. And for me to make it to the 2019 World Cup, I can’t really be serious in every format.
“So I’ve made myself unavailable for the New Zealand Test series. I will be there for the ODIs, and I’m definitely not retiring from Test cricket because I have plans to come back at some stage. For me, for now the most important thing is the 2019 World Cup. I want to make sure we get there, I want to make sure we lift that trophy. That’s the first goal for me.”
AB de Villiers was appointed to lead the South African side in the elite format in January 2016, but he relinquished the responsibility to Faf Du Plessis after it became evident that he will miss the third Test series in a row with injury.
On Tuesday, De Villiers made the announcement that his wife is expecting a second child and family responsibilities are playing a role in his decision making.
“I’m 32 and things have changed. That’s part of life,” AB de Villiers said. “Hopefully I make the best possible decisions for my career and my family going forward. As I say, the best way for me to end my career will be with that World Cup trophy in my backyard, as well as a few other things I’d like to achieve.”
However De Villiers is expected to make it to the South Africa’s next Test assignment, which is a tour to England for four Test matches.
“I’m confident that by the time we look at England and the Champions Trophy, he’ll be fully fit, raring to go, his appetite will have returned, because then it would be a fair amount of time (off) that he would have had,” Lorgat said.
“I know family circumstances change people – having children and being at home for a while will make him very relaxed, but I’m confident that England is the type of series he will want to be involved in.
Haroon Lorgat also praised the bench firepower South Africa has able to produce in the absence of AB de Villiers.
“We’ve built the team without AB, and that’s a very big positive,” said Lorgat. “The absence of AB has allowed others to step up, and we’ve developed other players,” Lorgat.
“It’s fantastic from my point of view that we have more than 11 that can take the field and be a winning formula.”
“That’s why I’m favouring giving him the latitude to rest and to start thinking that we want you all the way through to 2019. Because it’s a fact of life, once you step on that treadmill, there’s no turning back.”
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