Ever since he retired, talks of AB de Villiers making a comeback to the South African team have been doing the rounds. It happened during the course of the 2019 World Cup too and created something of a controversy around the struggling South Africa camp. But since then, it had become more or less clear that de Villiers would make a comeback in the shortest format ahead of the scheduled 2020 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
The batting legend announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in May 2018 but has played franchise cricket around the world since; and he has recently shown interest in participating in the upcoming marquee international tournament.
De Villiers, though, wasn’t impressed by media reports on Wednesday which quoted him as saying that “he has been asked by Cricket South Africa to lead the Proteas again”. A report put out by PTI quoted a press release received from broadcaster Star Sports but soon after de Villiers denied making such a statement.
The 36-year-old took to Twitter and stated that he had not received any such offer from CSA and that the reports were incorrect.
“Reports suggesting Cricket SA have asked me to lead the Proteas are just not true. It’s hard to know what to believe these days. Crazy times. Stay safe everyone,” De Villiers tweeted.
Star Sports, who own the rights to air all of the Indian team’s home matches, issued on Thursday the transcript of the interview given by the South African cricketer where he does not mention captaincy.
Here’s the full video:
Here is the transcript sent by Star Sports to Scroll.in along with the video where de Villiers speaks of getting back to his best form, the cricket calendar that has been affected by coronavirus, his equation with Mark Boucher and more:
Q: When can you see yourself play for South Africa again?
ABD: It is a tough question and I don’t have an honest answer yet. What I can share with you guys is that the desire is there from my side. The desire to get me involved with the Proteas has been shown by Cricket South Africa as well. With Mark Boucher as coach and Graeme Smith as director, they are keen to get me involved which is very pleasing to hear. I hope everything works out and there a few things that need to fall in place. The most important thing to me is I have to be in the tip-top form and I have to be better than the player next to me. If I deserve a spot in the side it becomes easy for me to feel like I deserve to be in the side and I have earned my spot.
I have not been in the Proteas side for a while and I think that is important for myself and for other people as well to see if I am still good enough to play for them. Secondly, my fitness and health. Who knows where will I be in 6-12 months’ time with this virus and my desire to play in 12 months’ time; I don’t know what is going to happen with the schedule. It is very difficult to lock yourself in 12 months down the line, that I wouldn’t want to do because I know I might sick myself and some other people who rely on me to play. We will see what happens for now. I feel like my desire to play again, I am hungry now to perform as I always wanted to play for SA and it has been privilege and honor to wear the country’s badge on my heart; hopefully that happens again and I will do everything I can to give myself that opportunity again.
Yes, I had some discussions with Mark Boucher during the Mzansi Super League in SA. We had a lot of fun with the Tshwane Spartans the team that I played for. With Boucher as coach I really enjoyed my time there. Boucher is a born leader. When he speaks you listen because he says the right things at right time but secondly he backs it with 147 test matches for SA, a lot of ODIs and a lot of experience playing international cricket. When I listen to him I do feel like there is always something to learn so I really enjoy him as a coach and we started talking about my enjoyment for the game which he could see on my face when I was playing for his team.
He asked me where does this comes from and ‘why do you have so much energy and why do love the game so much doesn’t it mean you have a story to tell at the international level’. I told him I have never closed that book I always wanted to play; I had some obstacles to cover in last 3-4 years from a personal point of view. I always loved playing cricket and always loved hitting the cricket ball. There were a lot of other factors involved in me not contributing the game as much as I should have.
Playing for his team [in MSL] there were no admin issues like that at all from the outside point of view; all I could do is focus on my cricket. I really enjoyed my time with Tshwane Spartans specially with the young players sharing my experiences with them, I truly felt I had a purpose and a big role to play in the team. So hopefully I can have that role again moving forward and who knows it will be for Proteas under Boucher as coach. As I said before if everything falls in place I will get that opportunity again.
Q: About the cricketing schedule...
ABD: Yes, that is my worry; the schedule for next 12 months is unclear [because of coronavirus] and what is going to happen with the cricket schedule around the world. That is one of my big worries and reasons why I am not committing to any cricket at the moment. I have always been a person who tries to be in [the] now as much as possible, for now it is important for me to think there might be a possibility that I could play for SA again; for me it is important to be as fit as possible, spend time on the treadmill, be at the gym making sure that I am fitter stronger and healthier [compared] to the person next to me whoever is going to be my competition.
Once I get an opportunity to go outside my house, [the aim] is to start hitting the cricket ball and to get into that form that I was in 2015 and let’s say in the latter half of my career when I was playing some good cricket. I really want to get into that form of playing cricket I quickly as I can. I want to focus but there is a lot of uncertainty in terms of scheduling of cricket over the next 12 months; we will have to see what is going to happen.
Q: About the possibility of T20 World cup being postponed...
ABD: Yes things might change if the tournament might get postpone to 2021, I don’t know honestly it is something I don’t want to commit to at the moment, because of the past experiences. [I have been] hurt in the past by committing to certain things I wasn’t 100% sure of. Not communicating to the right people at the right time. I really want to get right this time; once I feel I am 100% ready to commit to avail myself to SA for T20 WC whenever that happens with good communication to Boucher, Smith and whoever to communicate with. Then I will get to a point where ‘OK, let’s put it out there I am 100% available’; its not about getting selected or not but I am prepared to put myself out there and give it a full go.
Q: Have I learnt any new skills in the lockdown period?
ABD: To be honest not really, but the life has changed a lot. To stay in the vicinity of my house we have got a small garden; it’s been frustrating with me being an outdoors person. I love outdoors, I love my space and freedom. We have discovered that with good strong routine and you really feel like you have got some kind of purpose. I have got a new workout , I have got a small gym in my home where I run a lot on my treadmill and I have the basics when it comes to dumbbells and I have mats to do my floor exercise as well. So I have kept myself busy with that.
I have got two toddlers; three and five years old and they have kept me busy. We do a little bit of school that we do online and my wife and I we work throughout the day with our toddlers. And with cooking, making some nice food and at night when the kids are off to sleep we have an hour or two to ourselves where we watch a bit of TV series; [all that] keeps us busy and entertained. The most important for me and my wife this lockdown has been health and good routine.