JOHANNESBURG - Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has confirmed rumours that AB de Villiers will be retiring from Test cricket soon.
De Villiers said after his side’s 2-1 T20 International series loss in Cardiff on Sunday he would meet with Cricket SA in August to make a decision on his Test future.
De Villiers, at 33 and a veteran of 106 Test matches, had already opted out of the four-Test series against hosts England starting on July 6 at Lord’s.
"It's my belief that AB was looking to walk away from the Test game last year at some point, but has been encouraged to carry on by CSA,” said Smith in his column for The Independent on Monday.
“His personal prerogative is ensuring he does all he can to add as much longevity to his international career as possible, as well as taking in to account the harsh realities of touring such as the amount of travel involved, and the toll that takes on your body.”
De Villiers has made no secret of his ambition to win an ICC trophy with the Proteas, targeting victory at the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
"AB has already made huge sacrifices for South African cricket, over such a long period of time, and with the next ICC World Cup just two years away, it's likely that he is targeting that tournament as a swansong to his already illustrious career at the top level. What has AB de Villiers got to prove to anyone?
He's a star, and those players are often expected to be available all of the time no matter what the consequences might be personally.
“AB is due to assess his future with CSA later this summer, and my advice to him would be to step away from the captaincy, and concentrate his energy in to maintaining his levels in white ball cricket for the next two years.
Put simply, if that is what’s best for him and the longevity of his career, then that is what’s best for South African cricket.” De Villiers may well be considering giving up the captaincy which he currently holds in One Day Internationals for South Africa.
When asked on Sunday what role he hoped to play for the Proteas in the 50-over game in the future, he hinted at relinquishing the leadership role.
“[I’d like to be involved] one way or another. There are quite a few things that are changing in South African cricket at the moment, quite a few things we need to wait for. I don't even think it's in my hands what is going to happen," de Villiers said.