South Africa’s ferocious batsman and skipper AB de Villiers, cutting all the rumours doing round in the air, has confirmed that he has just been pulled out from the upcoming series in New Zealand in March but this was not at all a retirement call. He just wants to focus on the World cup 2019.
Talking to ESPN on January 17, he said,”Not yet. I’m not there yet.”
“The reason being that I just need to settle things in my head. Over the last few years, something has come to mind, which is the fact that we haven’t won a World Cup yet. And for me to make it to the 2019 World Cup, I can’t really be serious in every format.
“So I’ve made myself unavailable for the New Zealand Test series. I will be there for the ODIs, and I’m definitely not retiring from Test cricket because I have plans to come back at some stage,” he added.
De Villiers asserted that he just wanted to focus on the 2019 World Cup ahead of everything else at present.
He said,”For me, for now, the most important thing is the 2019 World Cup. I want to make sure we get there, I want to make sure we lift that trophy. Obviously, there are other factors that play a role like family and time away from home, but the main reason for me is that World Cup and I feel that if I play all formats all the time, then mentally and physically I won’t be at my best.”
De Villiers has recovered from his elbow injury to make his comeback in his side’s domestic 50-over competition and is scheduled to play his first match on Sunday.
“My main aim is to get to that 2019 World Cup and I am going to do everything possible to get there. It’s important to play the other formats but mentally and physically I need to be in a good space come to the 2019 World Cup and that’s what I am aiming for. I know it’s still a long way away and it’s all about managing that really well in order for me to get there,” he said.
AB is also much concerned about his fitness. The 32 -years-old Proteas skipper would be 34 by the next World Cup. So, he hopes that his fitness should not be an issue then.
“I have always been the go-ahead guy, the team man, never want to miss a game for South Africa and I still do, but the schedules these days, it’s really tough to play all formats, especially at the age of 32, when most cricketers don’t go past the age of 35.
“If you do the math, it takes me to 2019, 2020 at the most. Hopefully, by then I will still be fit and be there to lift the trophy with the boys,” he said.