Proteas stars to be pulled early from IPL?

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers (TEAMtalk Media)
Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers (TEAMtalk Media)

Cape Town - Proteas batsman AB de Villiers believes Cricket South Africa (CSA) will call the national players back early from this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) in order to prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy.

The IPL, which runs from April 5 - May 21, will see several Proteas stars playing in the lucrative tournament - including De Villiers - who will receive close to R19 million from the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The Champions Trophy is an 18-day tournament, which will run from June 1-18 in England, where the top eight sides on the ICC ODI team rankings qualify for the tournament.

Speaking to reporters at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday, De Villiers said that although he cannot confirm that they will be called back early, it seems likely, as the Proteas look to secure the elusive silverware.

"We're getting pulled out of the IPL," said De Villiers.

"I can't speak on behalf of CSA, but we are all coming back early to prepare for the Champions Trophy.

"Dates haven't been confirmed yet, but I think all South Africans participating in the IPL will be going there for the first month at least, and then we'll assess when we're back for the Champions Trophy and then the three ODIs against England."

South Africa won the inaugural event in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1998, when it was known as the ICC Knock-Out.

De Villiers, South Africa's ODI captain, and his charges are in Group B with India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The Proteas kick-start their Champions Trophy campaign against Sri Lanka on Saturday, June 3 at The Oval in London.

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