The road back to the Proteas may not be straightforward for AB
The road back to the Proteas for AB de Villiers may not be as straightforward as many hope it will be.
De Villiers, who made his Big Bash debut in Australia on Tuesday for the Brisbane Heat, was quoted saying that he would "love to" return to international cricket but acknowledged that "there's a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality".
The 35-year-old retired from international cricket in 2018 and was created a media frenzy last year when it was revealed that he was keen to come out of retirement for the 2019 World Cup in England.
Cricket South Africa vetoed the decision at the time and it now seems De Villiers may face similar stumbling blocks if he harbours any ambitions to play in the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in November.
"It's not just going to be as simple as that," Enoch Nkwe, South Africa's assistant coach, said on Tuesday. "From my experience of the last couple of weeks with how [head coach Mark Boucher] works, he really believes in processes - you've got to earn it. It's not just walking into the team."
The process of getting “Mr 360” back into the national fold is certainly intensifying after Boucher claimed on the day of his appointment that he was willing to have discussions with De Villiers about a possible return to the Proteas.
National team captain Faf du Plessis also confirmed that discussions with De Villiers is on-going, despite last year’s fall-out.
De Villiers confirmed on Tuesday that talks are on-going with the powers-that-be, particularly as he shares a healthy relationship with the current management team.
""There are a lot of players who I used to play with, guys who understand the game, leaders of the team for many years," he said.
"So it's much easier to communicate than what it used to be in the past. They understand what players go through - especially players that have played for 15 years internationally," de Villiers said. “I've been talking to [Boucher], [acting director of cricket] Graeme Smith and [captain] Faf [du Plessis] back home; we're all keen to make it happen," de Villiers was quoted as saying.
"It's a long way away still and plenty can happen. There's the IPL coming up - I've still got to be in form at that time. So I'm thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out. It's not a guarantee. I don't want to disappoint myself or other people, so, for now, I'm just going to try and keep a low profile, try and play the best possible cricket that I can and then see what happens towards the end of the year."
Even though Nkwe spoke about “processes” that needed to be followed, he did not rule out the possibility that De Villiers may involved at the T20 World Cup.
"He has been involved in the [Mzansi Super League] and I'm sure that if he shows interest, he will be involved in some of the series that we will be playing," Nkwe said. "We keep seeing him fully committed to these types of [T20] leagues, which shows that if we need experience like that we could actually call him up. I am sure that he would be someone who would love to do it for South Africa."@ZaahierAdams