FILE - The door remains open for AB de Villiers to return to the Proteas team for the T20 World Cup, says coach Mark Boucher.Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
FILE - The door remains open for AB de Villiers to return to the Proteas team for the T20 World Cup, says coach Mark Boucher.Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Mark Boucher says door is open for AB de Villiers to return to Proteas side for T20 World Cup

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Apr 15, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG – Proteas head coach Mark Boucher confirmed on Thursday that the door remained open for AB de Villiers to return to the Proteas line-up for the T20 World Cup later this year in India.

Although De Villiers has officially retired from international cricket, there have been a number of overtures made to him in the last 12 months, about possibly making a return to South Africa’s T20 side. After the World Cup was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, De Villiers had a re-think about his international status and said last year, he was open to making a return with the T20 World Cup as a target.

“I did chat to him before he went to the IPL,” Boucher said. “The conversation is still very much open. AB being the person he is, he wanted to perform very well at the IPL, to prove to himself and everyone else that he is still a very key figure in world cricket and could dominate at that level.”

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“I said to him: ‘go do your thing, and I’ll give you a shout towards the back end of the IPL.’ So that is where we are with him,” Boucher added.

De Villiers, 37, got his IPL off to a fabulous start last Friday, scoring a match-winning 48 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. It was his first competitive match in six months, and the manner in which he was able to strike boundaries against the likes of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah,in the latter stages of his side’s run-chase indicated what a classy player he remains, and certainly one that would add value to a Proteas line-up, which currently lacks experience.

Should De Villiers be available, he could form part of a 22-man squad for that tournament, following the ICC’s decision, to expand the size of squads allowed for its tournaments.

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Previously, squads were limited to 23 – with 15 players and up to eight staff. However in order to manage controls around Covid ‘bio bubbles’ teams will be allowed to bring a touring party of up to 30 individuals, with the additional seven spots available to be filled by either more players or support staff.

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