South Africa coach Mark Boucher has said AB de Villiers will be in contention for a spot in the XI during the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, provided he makes himself available for selection. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)
South Africa coach Mark Boucher has said AB de Villiers will be in contention for a spot in the XI during the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, provided he makes himself available for selection. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)

Boucher opens door for De Villiers T20 World Cup return

Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG  South Africa coach Mark Boucher has said AB de Villiers will be in contention for a spot in the XI during the T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, provided he makes himself available for selection.

De Villiers had announced his retirement from international cricket in May 2018. Since then, however, there has been speculation about his return to the side, especially last year before the Cricket World Cup 2019.

With the T20 World Cup in Australia a little over eight months away, there is talk once again of De Villiers' potential return, and Boucher said he would have no qualms selecting the batsman provided he is ready and willing to play.

"He's a discussion in the media and in the public but he is no discussion for me," Boucher was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo after the final T20I against England. "I have had chats with him and we will probably know pretty soon what's going to happen with him. Like I said from day one when I took over [as coach], if we are going to a World Cup, I would like to have our best players there.

"If AB is in good form and he is raring to go, and he makes himself available for the time we have asked him to be available; if he is the best man for the job, then he must go. It's not about egos or anything like that, it's about sending your best team to the World Cup to try and win that competition.”

Despite his retirement in 2018, De Villiers, in various franchise T20 leagues, has still set the scoring alight. He scored 326 runs at 46.42 with an impressive strike-rate of 152.58 in the Mzansi Super League 2019-20 in South Africa. He followed that up with 146 runs from six innings for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League 2019-20, and donned the wicket-keeping gloves for the last two league games.

South Africa, on Sunday, went down to England in a high-scoring, hard-fought three-match T20I series at home, and will now host Australia for another three T20Is and as many ODIs, beginning on Friday. They are expected to announce their squad for the series soon, and whether De Villiers makes a return remains to be seen. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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