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De Villiers commits to Test comeback, but relinquishes ODI captaincy

AB de Villiers says he is available to play for South Africa in all formats, but has quit as ODI captain.

AB de Villiers
South Africa batsman AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers has resigned as South Africa one-day international captain but declared himself available to make a Test comeback in October.

De Villiers has not played a Test since January 2016 and the prolific batsman has come in for criticism during an indefinite break from the longest format.

Proteas Test and Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis this month stated he does not expect his predecessor to return to the Test arena, adding that he has "earned the right to do whatever he wants to".

De Villiers on Wednesday ended uncertainty over his future by stepping down as ODI skipper after six years in the role, while committing himself to play for his country in all three formats.

The 33-year-old has backed Du Plessis to replace him as ODI captain in what is expected to be a new era with Ottis Gibson as coach.

De Villiers will be in line to make his Test return against Australia next March, with the upcoming two-Test series against Bangladesh seemingly coming too soon.

He said: "A lot has been said and written over the past 12 months, and I feel it is time to make my position absolutely clear.

"Over the past year or so, I have tried to manage many commitments. I have felt mentally and physically tired; my wife and I are bringing up two fantastic kids and playing in all three formats ever since 2004 has taken its toll.

"Together with Cricket South Africa, we have tried to develop a viable schedule which allows me to prolong my career for as long as possible.

"This strategy has prompted some people to say I am picking and choosing when to play for the Proteas, and even to suggest I am somehow putting myself before the team. That is simply not true. That has never been true. Playing for South Africa is, and will always be, the greatest privilege of my life. 

"Now to move forward. Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the T20 and Test teams, and bearing this in mind, I have informed Cricket South Africa that I would like to step down as captain of the ODI team. 

"It has been an honour to lead the team for the past six years, but it is now time for someone else to take the ODI side forward. Whoever is chosen as the new ODI captain will have my complete support.

"Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived. I want to get back on the field and I have today assured the national selectors that I will be available for selection in all three formats of the game during the coming season. 

"There is plenty of hard work ahead in the nets and I must prepare properly, but I will be ready to play, if required, from the middle of October onwards."

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