AB de Villiers has put his absence from the Test matches down to wanting to prioritise the 2019 World Cup.
With the aftermath of his side’s group-stage Champions Trophy exit behind him, along with the subsequent waves of criticism which followed, all De Villiers wants to do, is to start scoring runs again.
The ODI skipper will captain the T20 side in the three-match series against England in the absence of Faf du Plessis, with all of the players who play in all three formats given a rest. De Villiers is ‘full of energy’ and wants to put the last few weeks behind him as quickly as possible.
‘It was a tough few days after being knocked out,’ De Villiers admitted to the media on Tuesday. ‘The difficult part is the criticism, but I’m past nagging about losing games of cricket because it happens. I’m not going to look into it much.’
The 33-year-old only scored 20 runs in those group-stage matches, and while he mistimed his shots for his 4 and 0 in the first two matches, he felt he was on course for a huge total before he was run out by Du Plessis against India.
‘I feel like I’m playing really well; in the last game I felt like I was going to get 200 off five balls, but I was run out. I’m not out of form; results don’t always show that and it doesn’t mean I’m a bad player. I know I’m a good player and this team can achieve amazing things.’
De Villiers’ commitment to the side has come under the spotlight due to his ongoing absence from the Test arena. With 106 Tests to his name, perhaps it would be harsh to say he’s not dedicated to the cause, especially considering he hasn’t retired from the longest format yet. But on Tuesday, when he was fronted by the English media over the issue, he gave a bit more insight why he’s made that decision, with his eyes firmly set on playing in the 2019 World Cup.
‘It’s never been about managing my workload, it’s about prioritising certain things I want to achieve,’ said De Villiers. ‘I’ve never picked and chosen, it’s about prioritising myself for the 2019 World Cup. That’s my goal. I’ve got to regroup with CSA when I get home to see where I fit in and to see how I can move forward. But I’ve never picked and chosen.’
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