De Villiers has not missed a single match since the start of the Test series against England
South Africa wicketkeeper batsman AB de Villiers has pulled out of playing in the Champions League Twenty20 and could likely miss the entire upcoming Test series against Australia after suffering two separate injuries during the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20.
De Villiers re-aggravated his lower back and left ankle injuries and both are in dire need of “attention because either one could rule him out of the Australia series” according to South Africa team manager and medical doctor Mohammed Moosajee.
“If we don’t manage it properly, he could be out. His back and his ankle are worse than they were previously, if it wasn’t a World Cup and he wasn’t captain of the team, we would probably have made a decision to send him home earlier,” Moosajee said.
Moosajee did confirm that de Villiers’ injuries resurfaced due to his workload and “volume of cricket…played over the last three and a half months”.
However, de Villiers, defiant as always, stated that he was not being overworked and added that he would even curtail his career if it allowed him to continue captaining the Twenty20 and ODI squads, where he comes in as a middle order batsman and wicketkeeps as well.
“I am enjoying the captaincy so much, it’s something I wouldn’t like to give up, batting for the team and taking the gloves for the side, knowing the position I am playing in is better for the side and we can win more games, that gives me a lot of pleasure. If I miss out on a year at the end of my career so be it but we should win games,” de Villiers said.
Even though de Villiers admitted that he needed a break once in a while, he noted that he could and would not be taking any in order to ensure that South Africa achieve the top ranking in all formats of the game.
“It’s something we will have to discuss. Maybe a bit of rest time here and there which is difficult because I am captain of two of the teams and I wouldn’t like to miss any Tests,” de Villiers added.
The past four months is the prime reason why de Villiers has started to break down, as he started with a tour in England, playing them in all three formats before coming straight to Sri Lanka in time for the World Twenty20.
Usually, de Villiers is out in the field to do what he does best, which is to ensure that the fielding standards remain high amongst the entire team, but after the freak accident which prematurely ended regular wicketkeeper Mark Boucher’s career, de Villiers was forced to wear the gloves due to his outstanding fielding, catching and leaping abilities.
Despite doing extremely well with the gloves, de Villiers failed to make an impact with the bat throughout the entire England Test series, as he failed to even record a single half-century.
“The more you play, the higher the chances are of it flaring up and then you’ve got to manage it, that’s where the physio comes in with the treatment and this time treatment hasn’t allowed it to heal substantially,” Moosajee said.
As of right now the estimated time period for de Villiers to recover is about three to four weeks, but all that could change once he goes and visits a specialist.
If de Villiers is to go to Australia, the entire South African management will be keeping a close eye on him since they do not want him to develop any longer-term injuries.
But, even if de Villiers is unable to play, South Africa always have the option of using Thami Tsolekile, who was given a central contract in March.
Tsolekile did play in two warm-up matches against Worcester and Derby in place of Boucher, who had gone home due to his freak injury, but after that Tsolekile failed to represent South Africa in a single Test.
Some cricket pundits believe Tsolekile’s batting was the prime reason why he was not selected for any of the Test matches against England, but after having played some domestic cricket and improved on his technique, many people see him as the perfect candidate to replace de Villiers, if he does not play.
But, there have been talks that Tsolekile might even make the squad without having to see if de Villiers is given the green light to play or not since veteran batsman Jacques Rudolph has not been very successful with the bat for the most of this year.