JOHANNESBURG - AB de Villiers scripted the next chapter in what has been a turbulent year, by availing himself once again for Test cricket and stepping down as the Proteas’s One-Day captain.
De Villiers said in a video posted on his website - featuring some eerie background music -that he would be available for Test selection from mid-October, meaning he’ll miss the two Tests against Bangladesh.
He also re-vealed that his six-year tenure as the national team’s ODI captain was over and that he would be giving his full support to whoever is given that role.
De Villiers mentioned his best friend Faf du Plessis by name, outlining what an “outstanding captain” Du Plessis was for the Test and T20 team.
De Villiers has not played Test cricket since January last year when he captained the Proteas in the last two Tests of the series against England, which they lost.
He missed the series’s against New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka last summer, as well as the four Tests against England last month, saying at the start of this year that he wanted a break from Test cricket in an attempt to lengthen his international career with an eye specifically on the 2019 World Cup.
He’s now made a stunning u-turn.
“Together with Cricket South Africa, we have tried to develop a viable schedule which allows me to prolong my career for as long as possible,” he said on his video.
“This strategy has prompted some people to say I am picking and choosing when to play for the Proteas, and even to suggest I am somehow putting myself before the team. That is simply not true.
"That has never been true. Playing for South Africa is, and will always be, the greatest privilege of my life.”
De Villiers, who’s played 106 Tests, will certainly be welcomed back into the Test team which struggled against the English, particularly with the bat.
De Villiers’s experience and flair was badly missed by the Proteas in that series which they lost 1-3.
“Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived,” De Villiers remarked. “I want to get back on the field and I have today assured the national selectors that I will be available for selection in all three formats of the game during the coming season.
"There is plenty of hard work ahead in the nets and I must prepare properly, but I will be ready to play, if required, from the middle of October onwards.”
Should all go well for De Villiers in terms of preparation - he’ll likely avail himself to the Titans for a couple of four-day matches - he would be in line for selection for the India series, which because of the BCCI’s shenanigans with the schedule, is set to take place only in the new year.
“If I am lucky enough to be selected, I can’t guarantee runs and catches. Nobody can do that. But what I can absolutely guarantee is 100 percent commitment to the Proteas in every format of the game, as and when required. That was my promise when I made my debut in 2004; and that is my promise today,” De Villiers concluded.