AB de Villiers wants to play till the 2019 World Cup Image: Getty
South Africa captain AB de Villiers is contemplating retirement from Test cricket, according to reports.
ESPNcricinfo on Monday reported that ABD had informed CSA of his decision to give up the longest format late last year but was offered a year out of the game in a bid to get him to reconsider. However, ESPNCricinfo learnt from sources that the Protea batting ace is indeed contemplating Test retirement and might make his decision known when he meets Cricket South Africa officials following the appointment of a new coach in August.
The South African's decision is believed to be an attempt to prolong his ODI career and the player himself have expressed his desire to play on until the 2019 World Cup.
Former Protea skipper Graeme Smith, in a column for the Independent virtually confirmed the news. He wrote, "It's my belief that AB was looking to walk away from the Test game last year at some point, but has been encouraged to carry on by CSA. His personal prerogative is ensuring he does all he can to add as much longevity to his international career as possible, as well as taking in to account the harsh realities of touring such as the amount of travel involved, and the toll that takes on your body."
"AB has already made huge sacrifices for South African cricket, over such a long period of time, and with the next ICC World Cup just two years away, it's likely that he is targeting that tournament as a swansong to his already illustrious career at the top level. What has AB de Villiers got to prove to anyone? He's a star, and those players are often expected to be available all of the time no matter what the consequences might be personally," added Smith.
ABD had recently confirmed his impending meeting with the board in August and said, “It’s my main dream to win a World Cup for South Africa, or to be part of it in one way or another… I don’t even think it’s in my hands, what is going to happen. I will wait until the final decision on the coach and things like that are made. Then I can also have a chat to CSA, to see where I am going to fit in.”
The fact that the rumours started just after South Africa's disappointing ICC Champions Trophy campaign, where the fancied Proteas crashed out in the Group Stages, adds some sense of 'probability' to the unconfirmed reports.
ABD has played 106 Tests for his country, scoring 8074 runs with an average of 50.46. Earlier, we've seen former India captain MS Dhoni follow the same route to prolong his limited-overs career, but it's yet to be seen if ABD also relinquishes his captaincy like Dhoni did.