AB de Villiers targets a surprise return in November, as he looks to defy the odds by traveling to Australia for the day-night Test match.
After an elbow surgery which ruled him out of the ODI series against Australia, Proteas captain AB de Villiers is desperate to travel with his side to Australia with an eye on the day-night Test match which takes place on November 24. De Villiers has had surgery on his left elbow to fix an impingement problem that was causing him excruciating pain, but he remains hopeful that he will be ready to play come the day-night Test match.
‘I’m holding onto that (hope) a little bit,’ de Villiers told FiveAA. ‘According to the surgeons and the doctors there’s no chance. They did give me six weeks before rehab starts. I always feel the rehab phase can be sped up a bit.’
De Villiers had his surgery this week, and the six-week timeline would take him through to the week beginning November 14. The second Test at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena begins on November 12. ‘So maybe after the six weeks, if I do fly over straight away, I’ll be there for the second Test match,’ de Villiers added. ‘There may be an opportunity to prepare during that game – not play in it – and then be ready for the Adelaide Test, which would be a dream come true to play in a day-night Test against Australia.’
The 32-year-old attempted to prove his fitness at a Proteas training session in Johannesburg before the ODI series against Australia but was unable to pass. After a lengthy period of rest and rehabilitation and having the injured joint heavily strapped, surgery was the only option when he could no longer play without major pain. ‘A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do and unfortunately I’ve got to sort this out,’ de Villiers said. ‘It came at a really bad time; there’s one Test series you really don’t want to miss out on and it’s playing Australia in Australia.’ De Villiers said he had pushed himself too hard to play through minor injuries.
‘I think in the last couple of seasons I did push it a bit too much,’ the Proteas star said. ‘I was very driven to win the 2015 World Cup and an injury was never going to keep me off the park. I was always going to just work through it. ‘I think after that World Cup there was a big dip in my physical fitness and also mentally, I was a bit drained. I only realised that after the World Cup that I’d been pushing too hard.’
Despite that, De Villiers is adamant he wants to push on until at least the 2019 World Cup in England. ‘That’s the biggest dream for me, that 2019 World Cup,’ he said. ‘I will have to manage myself to get there. I’ve always been a fit guy, I could maybe go even further than 2019. But to me 2019 is the main one. I would love to be around for that World Cup … if I get selected, of course.’