Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa batsman AB de Villiers has made it clear that he has no intention of retiring from Test cricket, but confirmed that he would be missing the upcoming tour of New Zealand in March.
De Villiers, who recently relinquished the Test captaincy and was replaced by Faf du Plessis, has not played international cricket since June last year due to an elbow injury, which he underwent surgery for in October.
While he has no plans of retiring from the longest format, De Villiers hinted that he will focus more on his limited overs career in the future as he is determined to feature in the 2019 World Cup.
“I’ve made [myself] unavailable for the Tests in New Zealand,” De Villiers said in Johannesburg on Tuesday. “I’m not there yet. I need a bit of time just to settle things in my head. For me the goal is the 2019 World Cup – I want to lift that trophy.”
Earlier the same day, De Villiers told South African radio station 702 that he would not be announcing his retirement from Test cricket.
“I’m not retiring out of any format, that’s for sure,” he said. “I am not prepared to do that.”
Nonetheless, the 32-year-old conceded that he will need to manage his workload in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup.
“My main aim is to get to that 2019 World Cup and I am going to do everything possible to get there,” he said. “It’s important to play the other formats but mentally and physically I need to be in a good space come the 2019 World Cup and that’s what I am aiming for. I know its still a long way away and it’s all about managing that really well in order for me to get there.
“I am going to have to make certain choices. It’s not easy for me. I have always been the go-ahead guy, the team man, never want to miss a game for South Africa and I still do, but the schedules these days, it’s really tough to play all formats, especially at the age of 32, when most cricketers don’t go past the age of 35. If you do the math, it takes to me to 2019, 2020 at the most. Hopefully by then I will still be fit and be there to lift the trophy with the boys.”
Even though he has pulled out of the Test series against New Zealand in March, De Villiers is hoping to make his international comeback in the third Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka on January 25.
“I’ve had this elbow injury for a while now but I am fully fit again and I am playing in that last T20 in Cape Town on the 25th and then in the ODIs,” De Villiers said. “I am really excited to get going.”