AB de Villiers confirms talking to Mark Boucher for T20 World Cup return

AB de Villiers believes that the prospect of a return is plausible as the recent upheaval in Cricket South Africa brought his former teammates like Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith into the scene.

AB de Villiers has finally come out on Tuesday and expressed his interest on making an international comeback with South Africa at this year’s ICC World T20 in Australia.

After scoring 40 from 32 balls in his BBL debut with Brisbane Heat, the 35-year-old said that the revamped power structure in Cricket South Africa (CSA) with former captain Graeme Smith as the new director of cricket has made the prospect of a return very appealing.

“There’s a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality,” said de Villiers.

“I would love to. I’ve been talking to Bouch, Graeme Smith and Faf back home, we’re all keen to make it happen.”

READ | AB de Villiers makes BBL debut for Brisbane Heat

Despite his enthusiasm on making a comeback in the green-and-yellow colours for the first time since May 2018, de Villiers prefers to keep himself grounded with his hopes.

“It’s a long way away still, and plenty can happen – there’s the IPL coming up, I’ve still got to be in form at that time. So I’m thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out,” he added.

“It’s not a guarantee, once again. I don’t want to disappoint myself or other people, so for now I’m just going to try and keep a low profile, try and play the best possible cricket that I can and then see what happens towards the end of the year.”

De Villiers flirted with an international return last year itself when he reportedly made himself available for the ICC World Cup. But CSA rejected his offer and stuck with their pre-decided squad.

READ | AB de Villiers might play in T20 World Cup, confirms Faf du Plessis

But with the changing of the guard in the nation’s cricketing body in recent months, the possibility of a return seems more plausible.

“There are a lot of players (involved with CSA) who I used to play with,” he continued. “So it’s much easier to communicate than what it used to be in the past,” he said.

Because of the recent upheaval in CSA, Mark Boucher was appointed as the new head coach, Smith as the new director and Jacques Kallis was recruited as the new batting consultant.

“It doesn’t mean that everything is going to be sunshine and roses, but it’s definitely a lot easier and it feels comfortable, the language that’s being used and just the feel that everyone has at the moment in South Africa about the cricket.”

READ | Dale Steyn has the T20 World Cup ‘on agenda’

Apart from the veteran, the talk of his return has been amped by captain Faf du Plessis and coach Boucher too last month.

“People want AB to play and I am no different,” du Plessis said last month. “Those conversations have been happening for two or three months already.”

As for Boucher, he said, “When you go to a World Cup, you want your best players playing for you. If I feel he is one of your best players, why wouldn’t I want to have a conversation with him?”

AB de Villiers had retired from international cricket in May 2018 citing exhaustion as the reason. Now, with the T20 World Cup in less than ten months, plans seem to be in place to facilitate his return.

South Africa are scheduled to play three T20I matches against England and three against Australia in February next year, before touring West Indies in the winter.

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