Former South African Ab de Villiers has kept his comeback very much open, having announced before the 2019 World Cup itself. Having announced his intention to return to the international fold, the then South African coach Ottis Gibson, however, was not too keen on making it smooth. Despite that Ab de Villiers has not ruled it out but hopes for the IPL to take place this year, a tournament that can give him a clear picture.
After playing 114 Tests, 228 ODIs, and 78 T20Is since 2004, the 36-year old announced his retirement from top-level cricket in 2018. De Villiers continued to play franchise cricket all over the world. Before competitive cricket’s cricket suspension due to COVID-19, the swashbuckling batsman very much remained in contact with head coach Mark Boucher and director of South Africa cricket, Graeme Smith on his chances of featuring in the T20 World Cup.
Ab de Villiers revealed that Mark Boucher began the conversation on his potential return to the fold. However, De Villiers stated that he wants to take it step by step and didn’t confirm his availability immediately. Instead, he needed to look at how he fares in the upcoming matches for his franchises.
“Boucher started the conversation with me about a possible comeback. I am not the kind of guy who’d say, ‘look, I am back and available'”. I told him to let’s see where we go with this. Yes, it’s confusing but things have changed in the last 3-4 years. I am still healthy and feel I can hit the ball. If that changes, I am certainly not available for anything. But for now, let’s see what happens in the next few games I play,” the iconic batsman told Harsha Bhogle in a session for Cricbuzz.
The veteran batsman added that he needs to evaluate his situation every day with regards to body, willingness, and family commitments. At the same time, the Pretoria-born admitted his itch to get back on the cricket field and the Indian Premier League can be the stage where it all unfolds.
“I’ve to assess my situation every single day and see where I’m at. I just want to get back to a cricket field. Hopefully, the IPL happens this year. I just want to get going, after which I will reassess and I will have a look at where I’m at – with regards to my body, family and hunger, all of these things play a big role,” AB de Villiers maintaned.
Those were confusing times where my heart and mind were in different places: Ab de Villiers
The right-handed batsman spoke about his plans on retirement and coming back from it. De Villiers admitted that a lot happened before hanging up his boots in 2018 where his heart and mind weren’t agreeing with each other while also copping plenty of criticisms due to his choices.
“A lot happened over the last 5 years. Those were confusing times where my heart and mind were in different places. I’ve asked myself those questions (on retirement u-turn) quite a lot of time. Made the decision to retire at a time where I really needed to get away and I got a lot of criticism for picking and choosing series,” he added.
However, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) batsman admitted that he would continue playing competitive cricket. And after enjoying a couple of successful stints at the IPL and Big Bash League (BBL), Ab de Villiers set his sights on the T20 World Cup.
Ab de Villiers played for the first time in the BBL last year, plying his trade for the Melbourne Stars. The 36-year old has been part of RCB since 2011, wherein he has formed a formidable partnership with the captain, Virat Kohli. In 154 games, de Villiers has 4395 runs at a strike rate of 151.2. As far as the staging IPL in 2020 is concerned, BCCI is yet to make any concrete decisions on the same.
“In the back of my mind, I knew that I am still going to play cricket. After a good IPL or two and the Big Bash League, thoughts about playing in the T20 World Cup came to my mind,” he added.