Cricket South Africa CEO explains AB de Villiers' decision to skip NZ Tests

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers has ruled himself out of South Africa’s Test series in New Zealand

What’s the story?

Cricket South Africa's Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat has jumped to the defense of AB de Villiers after the star batsman pulled out of their upcoming Test series in New Zealand. Though the 32-year old expressed his intentions of continuing in all three formats, his decision to make himself unavailable for selection in the team’s next Test assignment came across as a surprise.

“Firstly, AB (de Villiers) is not picking and choosing. It is a plan that we had six months ago and it's a case of when he starts and when he returns. When you play‚ you'll be playing continuously. There's no picking and choosing in that regard but with Test cricket‚ it's different because he's not the captain and we've got a settled side and we've got the resources,” Lorgat told TimesLive.

He added, “ODI cricket is the focus because he's the captain. If he wasn't the captain of the ODI side‚ it might have been different and that's the same with the T20 side. What we've tended to do is to take things a series at a time.”

In case you didn’t know...

Earlier in the day, de Villiers quashed all murmurs surrounding his Test retirement. He has recovered sufficiently from his elbow injury and revealed that his future plans would revolve around the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

Citing the increasingly packed calendar, the dynamic batsman felt he might not able to concentrate on his game fully if he were to allocate equal importance to all three formats.

The heart of the matter

Having followed up their remarkable 2-1 victory in Australia with a clinical 3-0 triumph at home against Sri Lanka, South Africa’s Test side appears to be heading towards a productive journey.

While de Villiers could return as early as the 3rd T20I against the Lankans, he has already ruled himself out of the Test series in New Zealand. However, the right-hander will be available for the limited-overs leg of the tour.

Lorgat, however, hopes that the experienced cricketer will return to the longest format during South Africa’s tour of England this summer. Aside from the possibility of changing circumstances, he banked on the lure of playing in the United Kingdom whilst explaining his thought process.

What’s next?

Under Faf du Plessis’ commendable leadership, the Proteas will be keen on continuing their impressive Test form when the 3-match series in New Zealand begins at Dunedin on March 8. But, before that, they have 3 T20Is and 5 ODIs against Sri Lanka at home as well as a one-off T20I and 5 ODIs in New Zealand.

Sportskeeda’s Take

AB de Villiers has already been a part of one of the more successful Test teams in the recent past. However, his white-ball career does not feature any high-profile tournament wins. Considering South Africa’s seemingly never-ending search for a World Cup victory, he wants to focus his energy on the next opportunity.

On the downside, his decision to pick and choose Test matches (contrary to what Lorgat says) does not augur well for the Proteas’ red-ball fortunes. Even though he has not given up on the format yet, the uncertainty in his availability might not be ideal for the team.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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