CAPE TOWN: AB de Villiers has made himself unavailable for selection for the upcoming Test series in New Zealand in March though he has recovered from his elbow injury, but said that he was not retiring from Test cricket. However, while squashing recent speculation that he was going to give up the longest format, AB de Villiers indicated that his priority was going to be limited-overs cricket in order to play the 2019 World Cup.
“That’s a good question. Not yet. I’m not there yet,” de Villiers said in Johannesburg on Tuesday, when asked when he would return to the Test side. “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. 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.” Haroon Lorgat, the CSA chief executive, said de Villiers’ comments were not a surprise because he had been involved in discussions with the batsman. “We’ve given him the latitude of taking time off, of setting himself for the 2019 World Cup. It is very much part of our planning.
“We know it’s challenging schedules that all of the players have. What I think is, he is not going to get another opportunity like he currently has with time off. To put it in this fashion – the most he must make of it now [sic], once he gets back on the treadmill it is all the way through to 2019.” Agencies
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