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Johannesburg - Regular captain AB de Villiers has withdrawn from South Africa's T20 squad, in order to rest ahead of the Test series against New Zealand starting in Durban on Friday.
“It's been an exhausting few months and I feel that I need some extra rest before the Test series,” De Villiers said on Tuesday.
“It's for this reason that I have put in the request and I'm grateful to the Proteas team management for supporting this decision.”
De Villiers had already stepped down as skipper for the T20 matches, as he was unlikely to play all three games, with all-rounder Faf du Plessis set to take the reins.
Proteas T20 coach Russell Domingo said De Villiers was an integral part of the team, but they had looked at the bigger picture when they agreed to his request.
“AB is obviously an important part of our set-up and while we would've loved him to be part of the T20 series, we also need him fully fit and energised for the remainder of the summer,” Domingo said.
De Villiers was replaced in the 15-man squad by Cape Cobras batsman Justin Ontong.
“Justin has been in our limited overs plans for some time now and he has underlined his worth during the recent Momentum One-Day Cup when he excelled as a finisher for the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras,” said selection convenor Andrew Hudson.
“As we all know he is also an outstanding fielder with his direct hits and a more than useful spin bowler.
“We are fortunate to have a player of his calibre to replace AB and the loss of one is certainly an opportunity for the other.”