De Villiers to play tests, quits as South African ODI captain
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Batsman AB de Villiers has stepped down as captain of South Africa's One-Day International team but has said he is ready to play all three formats of the game after a self-imposed exile from test cricket.
De Villiers sat out South Africa's recent 3-1 test series defeat to England amid speculation that he was ready to ditch the five-day game having not played in the format since January 2016 through a combination of injury and personal reasons.
But with series to come in the 2017/18 season at home to India and Australia, De Villiers, 33, says he is now available once more.
"Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived," De Villiers said in a statement released on his behalf by Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Wednesday.
"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."
De Villiers averages more than 50 in test cricket and his return will bolster a batting line-up that struggled for runs against England.
De Villiers has however given up on his dream of captaining his country at the 2019 World Cup. De Villiers led South Africa in the Champions Trophy in England in June when they failed to make the last four.
"Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the Twenty20 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," he said.
"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," he added.
De Villiers, who has two young children, had been stung by accusations that he was picking and choosing his matches and maintains there was an orchestrated plan with CSA to extend a career that has become beset by injury in the last few years.
"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," he said
"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," he added.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Keith Weir)