What's the story?
South Africa head coach Mark Boucher has made it clear that they can consider AB de Villiers for the 2020 T20I World Cup provided the batsman is in good form and makes himself available for the showpiece event which is to be held in Australia in October-November this year.
Despite announcing his retirement from international cricket in May 2018, AB de Villiers attempted to make the cut for 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup by coming out of retirement. Unfortunately, he wasn't named in the Proteas squad for the quadrennial event.
And now, with the 2020 T20I World Cup beckoning and de Villiers expressing his desire to represent South Africa once again, the expectations among fans have gone to another level but it remains to be seen whether the versatile batsman would be considered for the tournament which is to be held later this year.
De Villiers, who turns 36 on February 17th (Monday), has scored 1672 runs in 78 T20Is for South Africa.
The heart of the mater
Boucher stressed the importance of having quality and proven players in the squad to have any chances of achieving glory at the World Cup.
"He’s a discussion in the media and in the public but he is no discussion for me. I have had chats with him and we will probably know pretty soon what’s going to happen with him. Like I said from day one when I took over, if we are going to a World Cup, I would like to have our best players there"
The former South African wicket-keeper batsman further added,
"If AB is in good form and he is raring to go and he makes himself available for the time we have asked him to be available; if he is the best man for the job, then he must go. It’s not about egos or anything like that, it’s about sending your best team to the World Cup to try and win that competition"
De Villiers, who has been playing in T20 leagues across the globe since announcing his retirement, was last seen in action during the 2019-20 Big Bash League (BBL) for Brisbane Heat where he amassed 146 runs in six innings at a strike-rate of 140.38 for the Chris Lynn-led franchise.
The big-hitting batsman emerged as the highest run-getter for his side Tshwane Spartans (third-overall) with 325 runs in nine innings during 2019-20 Mzansi Super League.
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Having lost (1-2) the recently-concluded T20I series against England, South Africa's next T20I assignment will be the three-match series at home against Australia beginning on February 21st at Johannesburg.
With the squad for the Australia series expected to announced on Tuesday, we need to wait and watch whether de Villiers makes a comeback to the T20I side having already expressed his desire to play for South Africa.