AB de Villiers: 'I've been talking to 'Bouch'‚ Graeme Smith and Faf back home

AB de Villiers' return to international cricket with the Proteas is still on the table.
AB de Villiers' return to international cricket with the Proteas is still on the table.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Former Proteas batting superstar AB de Villiers has stated his intention to return to the national team‚ but said there's a lot that needs to happen before he makes a final decision.

De Villiers's return to the national team has been a talking point since Mark Boucher's appointment as the Proteas team director late last year.

De Villiers represented the national team in all formats from December 2004 until May 2018 when he announced his retirement from all formats.

It was reported that he wanted to return to the national team ahead of last year's disastrous Cricket World Cup sojourn in England.

That move‚ though‚ was red-flagged by Cricket South Africa's management ahead of the World Cup.

Speaking to cricket.com.au after a match-winning contribution for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League in Australia‚ De Villiers said the conversations have been taking place‚ but there are a few T's to be crossed and I's to be dotted.

There's also the matter of being in form

"There's a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality.

"I would love to. I've been talking to 'Bouch' (new South Africa team director Mark Boucher)‚ (new director of cricket) Graeme Smith and (captain) Faf (du Plessis) back home‚ we're all keen to make it happen.

"It's a long way away still‚ and plenty can happen – there's the IPL coming up‚ I've still got to be in form at that time.

"So I'm thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out. It's not a guarantee‚ once again.

"I don't want to disappoint myself or other people‚ so for now I'm just going to try and keep a low profile‚ try and play the best possible cricket that I can and then see what happens towards the end of the year.”

According to De Villiers‚ a change of management at Cricket South Africa may have pushed him in the right direction.

When De Villiers retired‚ former West Indian international Ottis Gibson was the head coach while the organisation was headed by the now suspended chief executive officer Thabang Moroe.

Titans chief executive officer Jacques Faul is now Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive while former team mates Boucher and Smith are at the helm from a player affairs perspective.

De Villiers told cricket.com.au their presence could ease his return‚ but understands there's still a lot of admin work that will have to go into facilitating his return.

"There are a lot of players (involved with CSA) who I used to play with‚ guys who understand the game‚ leaders of the team for many years.

"So it's much easier to communicate than what it used to be in the past. They understand what players go through – especially players that have played for 15 years internationally‚” De Villiers said.

"It doesn't mean that everything is going to be sunshine and roses‚ but it's definitely a lot easier and it feels comfortable‚ the language that's being used and just the feel that everyone has at the moment in South Africa about the cricket."

While the school of thought in SA's broader cricket public exists that Boucher‚ Smith and batting consultant Jacques Kallis are a continuation of an 'old-boys clique' that existed when all of them were players‚ De Villiers told cricket.com.au that he was happy to see them involved with the national team.

“They're my friends and I played 10-plus years with them internationally.

"We've been through a lot and it's great to have them involved again‚ and as I said‚ hopefully I'll be involved again as well pretty soon‚” De Villiers said.


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