Proteas

AB 'desperate' to play for Proteas again

AB de Villiers (Getty)
AB de Villiers (Getty)

AB de Villiers again expressed his desire to return to international cricket, further fuelling speculation that fans of "Mr 360" will see him in the Proteas green and gold as soon as cricket resumes.

Speaking to SuperSport commentator Mpumelelo Mbangwa on Instagram Live, De Villiers responded to a question posed by one of the thousands of fans who tuned in asking whether he would play for South Africa again if selected for the T20 World Cup (scheduled for October this year in Australia).

He again reiterated that he was in conversation with Proteas head coach Mark Boucher and Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith. De Villiers is understood to be very close to the pair, whom he played with in the past.

"I would absolutely love to play [for the Proteas] but it's so unsure at the moment, where we're heading with cricket around the world," said De Villiers.

"I've spoken to 'Bouch' and 'Smithy' and all of them and the urge is there. I would desperately want to represent my country again.  

"[But] I can't commit to that because I don't know where I'm headed. Am I going to be fit if [the T20 World Cup] happens in 2021? Am I still going to be in form?

"If I do commit to something like that I'd like to think that I'm going to be in the best form of my life, so I can bat and score runs for my country.

"There's a lot of factors that I can't control at the moment, so I'm taking it one day at a time and, touch wood, everything will work out."

Recently, De Villiers also told Afrikaans weekly newspaper Rapport that he "feels available" but was cautious to commit to coming out of retirement outright.

The former Proteas captain retired sensationally from international cricket in 2018 citing a variety of personal reasons but made an about turn moments before last year’s 50-over World Cup squad was announced.

The latter move received widespread criticism and condemnation, with some attributing the lacklustre Proteas performances in Britain last year to the ongoing disruptions to the camp.

Nonetheless, De Villiers, now 36, enjoys a massive following of people who would love to see him play for South Africa again.

In 78 T20 internationals, De Villiers averaged 26.12 and ended his career at that point with a top score of 79-not out against Scotland at The Oval in 2009 during that year's T20 World Cup. He also maintained a batting career average of 50 or more in Tests and One Day Internationals.

"Playing for my country was never a right; it was the biggest privilege of my life," he said.

"It's not something that you just get and it's never belonged to me. I did something that I love and it was always deeper than playing cricket. It was a battle for South Africa."

- Compiled by Sibusiso Mjikeliso

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