CAPE TOWN – If Victor Matfield can come out of retirement to play for the Springboks in a Rugby World Cup, then there’s nothing stopping AB de Villiers from a similar Proteas U-turn, says captain Faf du Plessis.
The skipper had just returned from a successful tour Down Under, where he led the Proteas to a 2-1 ODI and 1-0 T20 series’ victory. This was, of course, achieved without the retired De Villiers.
But with the mercurial De Villiers rousing the South African crowds back home in the newly-formed Mzansi Super League for the Tshwane Spartans over the past weekend, it has once-again opened up the debate whether the former Proteas captain will make a shock return for the World Cup in England next July.
"Victor Matfield retired from international rugby and he came back and I suppose nobody would have ever thought he would come back," Du Plessis said half-jokingly at Cape Town International on Monday morning.
"AB is a world class player, but it was AB's decision to retire and if he wanted to come back it would have to be a discussion, but it's obviously his decision. It won't be a decision from the team.
"He made it pretty clear in the conversations that I've had with him that he was done with international cricket and he was very convincing even when I was trying to find a way to change his mind."
Although the Proteas claimed the series honours in Australia, there remain questions surrounding the middle-order De Villiers has vacated. David Miller had a successful return to form at No 5, winning the Man of the Series award, but Heinrich Klaasen, who has replaced De Villiers in the batting line-up, averaged just 8.50 with a top-score of 14 over the course of the three matches played.
Equally, JP Duminy remains on the sidelines after recently undergoing a shoulder operation and is only expected back in February after the home Pakistan ODI series.
This further leaves the door ajar for De Villiers to return to the Proteas side, although Du Plessis believes if this unlikely event is to occur, it needs to happen by the time his team locks hocks with the Pakistanis in the first ODI on January 19 in Port Elizabeth.
"AB would be the guy to change his mind. It was his decision to retire, so if he had a change of heart then by Pakistan we would like to be picking our best team by then," said Du Plessis. "In your perfect world, you would have to let the powers that be know before then."@ZaahierAdams
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