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AB de Villiers still managing troublesome back ahead of Test return

After almost two years away from Tests, returning South Africa star AB de Villiers is taking a cautious approach with his back injury.

cricket Updated: Dec 24, 2017 19:55 IST
By Peter Hanson
By Peter Hanson
AB de Villiers,Cricket South Africa,South Africa vs Zimbabwe
AB de Villiers is set to play the maiden four-day, day-night Test against Zimbabwe and the three-Test series vs India, starting January 5. (Twitter )

AB de Villiers admits his troublesome back problem will need to be monitored as he prepares to make his long-awaited return to the Test arena in South Africa’s contest against Zimbabwe.

The batsman has not played in cricket’s longest format since January 2016, having scored 8,074 runs in 106 Tests during his career, but will take centre stage for the day-night, four-day clash between the Proteas and Zimbabwe, which starts on Tuesday.

(Read | South Africa’s AB de Villiers eyes successful Test return vs Zimbabwe)

The 33-year-old was withdrawn from an invitational side in Paarl earlier this week and concedes his long-standing back issue will have to be treated with caution.

“It’s not really a big problem. It’s a little niggle, something I have had for the last eight or nine years and something I have to manage with my workload,” De Villiers said.

(Read | South Africa plagued by ‘problem of plenty’ in Pink Ball four-day Test vs Zimbabwe)

“I had a few intense games in the last few months and I started feeling it again towards the end of the Ram Slam finals.

“There’s nothing you can do, it’s a little tweak. I was honest with the convener and a few guys and asked them for a few days off.

“The doctor also treated me and suggested I take a few days off. It’s as simple as that. I needed a bit of rest and I feel fit and ready to go again.”

(Read | Ashes: Former cricketer Ashley Giles slams immature England)

On the prospect of facing the pink ball, he added: “I pride myself in the fact that I can adapt to certain conditions and formats.

“I have worked hard on my game over the last six months. I started in July facing red balls at the University of Pretoria, getting some technical stuff sorted out, I feel more ready than ever to take it on.

“I faced a few pink balls here on a spicy wicket, it was really tough. Then again it’s a great challenge, it’s the ultimate form of the game, it’s the greatest challenge to come out on top when the ball is moving around a bit.”

First Published: Dec 24, 2017 19:55 IST