AB de Villiers has declared that he is not retiring from any form of cricket, but says he needs to manage his workload.
He told Radio 702 in an interview: ‘I’m not retiring out of Test cricket, I’m not retiring out of any format, that’s for sure.’
De Villiers said that his primary goal now was the 2019 World Cup and he would plan his workload to make sure he was fit for the occasion. He has ruled himself out of the Tests to be played in New Zealand. ‘I am not available,’ he said.
‘It’s important to play the other formats but mentally and physically I need to be in a good space come the 2019 World Cup and that’s what I am aiming for,’ he said. ‘I know its still a long way away and it’s all about managing that really well in order for me to get there.
‘I am going to have to make certain choices. The schedules these days … it’s really tough to play all formats, especially at the age of 32, when most cricketers don’t go past the age of 35. If you do the math, it takes to me to 2019, 2020 at the most. Hopefully by then I will still be fit and be there to lift the trophy with the boys.’
De Villiers said he had recovered from the elbow injury that kept him out of cricket since August last year and hoped to make a comeback in the third T20I against Sri Lanka on January 25.
Speculation over his Test future was sparked when coach Russell Domingo said he and management would be sitting down with De Villiers to discuss what he wanted to do when he had recovered from the shoulder injury which saw him miss three series after returning from the Caribbean Premier League.
‘AB has got to make the decision about whether he is available and the selectors have got to make the decision whether he plays,’ said Domingo. ‘He has obviously got to make some decision about his future in cricket.’
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis added fuel to the fire when he said: ‘I’m not sure how AB will feel in terms of Test cricket, so we will have to see. I am hoping he decides to play Tests for us. He is obviously a world-class batter and I, as a captain, would love to have him as a leader in our team, and obviously as a batter. He is a fantastic player.’
De Villiers has previously hinted that he is finding the pressure of playing all three formats difficult, especially as he is committed to outside events such as the IPL and Caribbean Premier League. He is also eager to play the Big Bash.