It’s final ... AB de Villiers had decided against coming out of retirement to make sensational Proteas return
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The on-going soap opera related to AB de Villiers' pending return to the Proteas has finally been concluded on Tuesday with the legendary batsman set to remain in international retirement.
De Villiers retired from the Proteas in 2017, but there has been speculation that the 37-year-old could return to the national team with the T20 World Cup on the horizon later this year.
The former Proteas captain still plays in the Indian Premier League for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and was in good form prior to the league's postponement, further fueling rumors that De Villiers would turn out in the green and gold again.
But Cricket SA released a statement on Tuesday ahead of naming the Test and T20I squads for the West Indies tour that De Villiers' situation has been finalised.
"Discussions with AB de Villiers have concluded with the batsman deciding once and for all, that his retirement will remain final," the CSA statement said.
De Villiers's unique skill-set would certainly have bolstered a Proteas T20 side that have lost five successive T20I series under coach Mark Boucher.
The veteran was still in sublime touch as he passed 5000 runs during the curtailed 2021 tournament.
India and RCB captain Virat Kohli certainly believed De Villiers could still deliver the goods on the highest stage.
"AB doesn't like me saying this, but he hasn't played competitive cricket for five months, but if you look at him bat it doesn't feel like he doesn't play international cricket anymore. Hats off to him, keeps doing it again and again for us," Kohli said.
De Villiers was also still in supreme physical shape, despite last playing international cricket almost four years ago now.
"I've really done some work at home and we have treadmills in the room. I've done all the work and now it's all about being as fresh as I can when I go out to bat," De Villiers said.