AB de Villiers says that the feeling in the Proteas camp is similar to how he remembers it, despite the departure of Russell Domingo.
A lot has changed since De Villiers captained the Proteas in their humiliating Champions Trophy exit – Gibson has taken the reins as Proteas head coach and Faf du Plessis the captaincy of the ODI side.
Despite the shift in the hierarchy, De Villiers focused on the similar feel in the camp, rather than the differences since he stepped down as ODI captain in August.
‘The feeling is still quite similar, even though I’m not the captain,’ De Villiers told the media on Wednesday. ‘Faf and I have come a long way and we know each other’s games really well. I’ve had a long run as a captain and had fantastic ups and quite a few lows in between. I’ve captained for five or six years and I felt that it was enough.
‘I wanted to enjoy the last few years of my career,’ De Villiers continued. ‘Not that I didn’t enjoy the captaincy, I enjoyed it a lot and it was a great privilege – but I got to the stage when I thought it was enough. I know Faf is capable as captain and has the potential to be one of the best leaders we ever had.’
On working with Gibson, De Villiers complimented him for the positive mentality he brings to the setup.
‘I feel like it is still quite similar to before,’ said De Villiers. ‘This says a lot about our culture, it’s still very strong. Gibbo definitely brings a different feel to the team; he’s quite a confident man, he knows what he wants. We get the feeling that we know where we are going as a team and I think that this is a great start for him, it’s a great feeling for the guys to feel that way.’
After his elbow surgery in September, the Proteas were left uncertain where De Villiers stood with regards to international cricket. This was particularly the case after his decision to rest himself from the longest format. De Villiers’ last Test for the Proteas was in January 2016, yet he still remains interested in making his Test return.
‘If selected, I’m there for South Africa whenever I’m needed,’ said De Villiers. ‘I can’t just accept that I’m going to be in the Test squad; some guys have come in and done really well there. I’m going to have to work my way back into the team. I will also be available for the Titans in the Sunfoil Series wherever I’m needed.’
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