After South Africa’s new head coach Mark Boucher, now skipper Faf du Plessis wants his squad’s star batsman AB de Villiers to be back into international cricket ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in October next year.
Du Plessis on Monday (December 16) said that talks had begun aimed at getting the Proteas run-machine to come out of retirement.
Responding to Boucher’s comment that he would welcome having De Villiers in his team, the captain said, “Those conversations have been happening two or three months ago.”
He said the immediate focus of his team was on preparing for a Test series against England which starts in Centurion on December 26.
“Obviously Test cricket is the most important thing right now but T20 cricket is a different beast,” Du Plessis said in a post-match press conference after leading his Paarl Rocks team to an eight-wicket victory over the Boucher-coached Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League final at Boland Park.
De Villiers retired from international cricket after a Test series against Australia in 2017 and any comeback would probably be limited to Twenty20 internationals for a player who has become a specialist in the short form of the game. He made a half-century for Tshwane in Monday’s final but will soon be on his way to Australia to play in that country’s Big Bash.
“It’s not a lot of time away from home,” said Du Plessis. “Obviously with a full campaign you have to spend a lot of time on the road. The T20 World Cup is not too far away and there isn’t a long list of T20 internationals over the season. Those conversations have taken place and they will take place before the next T20 international series starts.”
South Africa will play three home T20 internationals against England and another three against Australia between February 12 and February 26.
Du Plessis welcomed the dramatic changes which have taken place in South African cricket over the past week, which have resulted in former captain Graeme Smith being appointed interim director of cricket and Boucher being made head coach. “It was the dark ages last week and there is a little light this week,” he said.
“It’s very important. It will help the dressing room and even the support of the team. Everyone wants the team to do well, everyone wants to make sure we get the right people in the right positions. It’s exciting. I’m very excited with the start of this new journey.,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)