AB de Villiers, ICC Test Rankings, South Africa, Pink-ball, Zimbabwe, Port Elizabeth
AB de Villiers in his last three Test innings has registered ducks. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Ace batsman AB de Villiers set his horizon on the traditional format of cricket while revealing the spur to his return in the Test fold is his wish to see his national side, South Africa, earning the number one spot in the ICC’s rankings.

“Obviously we’d like to be No.1 in the world‚ we are not far away,” de Villiers was quoted as saying by Times Live.

As South Africa is scheduled to kick off their series on January 5 in Cape Town, 2018, de Villiers feels the Proteas would be able to regain the top position in 90 days if things would go according to the plan.

“We know if we win a few series in the next two or three months against very tough opposition we can achieve that,” de Villiers said.

AB de Villiers, ICC Test Rankings, South Africa, Pink-ball, Zimbabwe, Port Elizabeth
AB de Villiers has worked hard in nets to eye for the red-ball contest. Photo Credit: Web.

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Geared up for the challenge, de Villiers has already made a return when he sweated it out in the nets at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth ahead of the historic first-ever four-day Test fixture which is slated against Zimbabwe on the Boxing Day.

“I faced a few pink balls last night on a spicy wicket‚ it was really tough‚ but then again it’s a great challenge‚ the ultimate form of the game,” de Villiers explained.

De Villiers has expressed a satisfaction on his game while adding he has the ability to play his game while banking on his strength after undergoing an energy-sapping training schedule.

“I pride myself on the fact that I can adapt to certain conditions‚ certain formats. I have worked really hard on my game in the last six months,” de Villiers maintained.

AB de Villiers, ICC Test Rankings, South Africa, Pink-ball, Zimbabwe, Port Elizabeth
AB de Villiers wants to see his side to excel across formats. Photo Credit: Web.

The prominent face of the Proteas line-up de Villiers was witnessed playing under the floodlights to face the pink-ball before the hosts are scheduled to face the Graeme Cremer-led Zimbabweans.

“It’s a great feeling to come out on top with the bat in hand when the ball is moving around a bit in test cricket so we looking forward to what Zim (Zimbabwe) have got to offer,” de Villiers expressed.

After nursing the back injury which has subsequently haunted the 33-year-old star batsman de Villiers, he has felt encouraged while undergoing the rigorous rehabilitation programme to further guide youngsters and is confident to contribute for the Proteas under the leadership of Faf du Plessis.

“I want to contribute. I want to play knocks and have my say in the field‚ share my experience‚” de Villiers asserted.

AB de Villiers, ICC Test Rankings, South Africa, Pink-ball, Zimbabwe, Port Elizabeth
AB de Villiers has been an integral part of the Proteas national side. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

The Pretoria-based batting mainstay de Villiers remarked he is eager to make a return in the red-ball cricket after a prolonged gap of little over 22 months and has the urge to win matches for the national side after featuring in 106 Tests.

“(I want to) take some catches in order for us to win games of cricket,” de Villiers further said.

Earlier, Villiers has withdrawn from the three-day practice game against Zimbabwe while struggling with his lower-back injury. He was picked by Cricket South Africa for the SA Invitation XI.

“I had a few intense games in the last few months and I started feeling it again towards the end of the Ram Slam finals. I needed a bit of rest and I feel fit and ready to go again,” de Villiers remarked.

AB de Villiers, ICC Test Rankings, South Africa, Pink-ball, Zimbabwe, Port Elizabeth
AB de Villiers played his limited-overs’ previous fixtures in October 2017. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

(Read Further: Virat Kohli Back To Practice To Prepare For South Africa Tour)

It’s pertinent to point out that, the right-handed batsman de Villiers played his last Test at Centurion in January 2016 which further saw him featuring in the limited-overs cricket in his previous fixtures in 2017.

Earlier, de Villiers struggled in the Test fold when he went literally into the exile with two ducks against England on the bowling of pace spearhead James Anderson.

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Moreover, De Villiers is not worried about the preparations for the pink-ball game while stating he has started knocking the red-balls well in June early this year to fine tune his game in the nets of the University of Pretoria.

“I started off the end of July facing red balls at the University of Pretoria‚ getting some technical stuff sorted out and I feel more ready than ever to take it on,” de Villiers concluded.

In 176 Test innings, de Villiers amassed 8,076 runs at an average of 50.46. He smashed 21 hundreds and 39 fifties.

Tahir Ibn Manzoor

Tahir Ibn Manzoor is a staffer at Cricket Addictor, who follows cricket like food and he has a great affection for the long-form journalism. He Tweets @TahirIbnManzoor