There is a bit of truth in retirement rumours, says De Villiers

South Africa captain admits mulling exit after England series ahead of third Test

Afp January 13, 2016
De Villiers is one of the most explosive batsmen in modern cricket and would be sorely missed by South Africa when he retires. PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG: New South African captain AB de Villiers said on Wednesday he was fully committed to leading the team in the next two Tests against England, but confirmed there was ‘a bit of truth’ in rumours he was considering retirement.

“For two or three years I’ve been searching for the right answers to play a little less cricket in one way or another, to keep myself fresh and enjoying the game,” said the 31-year-old. “Every now and then I find I am not enjoying myself as much as I should be. I’ve been talking to a few people and obviously that’s leaked.”

3rd Test: De Villiers faces big challenge against England

De Villiers was speaking ahead of the third Test against England which starts at the Wanderers Stadium on Thursday — the first time he has spoken directly to journalists since an article appeared in a local newspaper claiming he was thinking of quitting.

“I’m still very committed to the job,” he said. “I am focusing on the two Test matches that are remaining [in the series]. There’s a nice big break of six months before we play Test cricket again. Lots of things can happen before then. But for now I am as committed as I can be and very hungry to make a success of these two Test matches.”

De Villiers acknowledged that big-money Twenty20 tournaments around the world were tempting for players.

Amla reaches double century

“I think it’s a going concern for the ICC [International Cricket Council] to find the right sort of structure to keep all the guys fresh. International cricket is the main cricket you want to play, especially Test cricket,” he added. “There are big tournaments going on around the world and some of them you can’t ignore because financially they make a huge difference in our lives.”

De Villiers said although he hoped to instil his own brand of energy into the team, the atmosphere in the camp remained ‘normal’ following the resignation of Hashim Amla as captain after the second Test last week.

“I’m very excited but we’ve got a very stable team culture so not much has changed in the team set-up.”

De Villiers out after long stand

De Villiers said going in with four seam bowlers and no specialist spinner was an option because there were part-time spinners in the squad.

In addition, he hinted that home-town fast bowler, the strongly-built Hardus Viljoen, 26, might win his first Test cap.

“He [Viljoen] excites me quite a lot. He bowls at very good pace, has got good control and has taken 10 wickets in two matches in a row for his franchise team.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2016.

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