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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

AB de Villiers sets sights on Test comeback, could play warm-up game vs Zimbabwe

AB de Villiers could be a part of the South African Invitation XI that plays Zimbabwe in a warm-up game ahead of the Boxing Day Test in a bid to regain match fitness as he eyes a Test cricket comeback.

cricket Updated: Nov 29, 2017 14:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
AB de Villiers is likely to don the whites for South Africa once again.
AB de Villiers is likely to don the whites for South Africa once again. (Getty Images)

AB de Villiers, who has not made a Test appearance for the South African cricket team since January last year, could turn out for a South African Invitation XI in warm-up game in a bid make his comeback to the format, reported ESPNcricinfo.

The three-day warm-up match will be played against the Zimbabwe cricket team from December 20-22. The visitors will be using the friendly game to prepare for the maiden four-day Test match against South Africa that is scheduled a few days later.

“We’d like to get him back in whites as soon as possible and we have some plans in place. There’s the practice match which will be good for him,” Linda Zondi, South Africa’s convener of selectors told ESPNcricinfo.

“The manner in which he has played has shown that he is ready. It was never a case of him being rusty but just about getting him match fitness,” added Zondi, indication the right-handed batsman’s run of form in the Ram Slam T20 matches.

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Injuries had sidelined De Villiers from the long format, having last played his last Test match against England at SuperSport Park in January 2016. A self-proclaimed break from the format in 2017 had led to speculation of his retirement.

“I’ve had time at home to get fresh, time to work on my body, and time to work on skills I’ve not worked on in many years,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Villiers as saying.

“I’ve sort of rediscovered that love of the game. I’ve not had an off-season where I’ve gone to nets to work on my skills and technique for ages. Last year, in the peak of the season, I was less ready for Test cricket than I am now.”

“It will be nice to go out there and spend some time on my legs. Form-wise I feel ready, but it’s important to stand in the field for a while and hopefully get a long knock,” De Villiers said.

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De Villiers had turned out for South Africa against New Zealand and England in limited overs format earlier this year, after which was seen in action against Bangladesh.

Whether he will make the Test side is a matter of contention. Even Zondi appears to be unsure of the same.

“For us as selectors, it’s about getting him into the squad and then it will be worked out from there. It’s a nice problem to have,” said Zondi.

First Published: Nov 29, 2017 14:32 IST