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World cricket needs De Villiers - Swann delighted with South African's Test return

Graeme Swann is overjoyed that AB de Villiers has decided to return to Test cricket after 18 months out of the five-day format.

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Graeme Swann was speaking in association with Specsavers – title sponsor of the County Championship.

AB de Villiers' return to the Test arena is a huge boost for South Africa and world cricket, according to former England spinner Graeme Swann.

De Villiers has not played Test cricket since January 2016 but confirmed on Wednesday that he will be available for selection again from mid-October.

The 33-year-old explained he had tried to "manage many commitments" since stepping away from Tests having felt "mentally and physically tired".

He now feels "refreshed and revived" and Swann believes the return of De Villiers is cause for celebration among all cricket fans not just Proteas supporters.

"It's a massive boost," Swann told Omnisport, courtesy of Specsavers.

"I wish he'd come back just before the series in England because they desperately needed him and were a weaker team without him. Good on him, get back in there.

"When he's on song he's absolutely awesome, he's very difficult to bowl at, he's world class, everyone knows that, I'm overjoyed he's come back.

"He's world class, a world-class batsman, full stop. You put someone like him in the order and every one oozes confidence on the back of that, so welcome back AB!"

De Villiers' decision to take an indefinite break from the five-day game led to criticism from some quarters, but Swann says those critics "have no idea" of the pressures playing at the highest level.

"I don't blame him for having a break," Swann added. 

"With the treadmill of international cricket, anyone who has a go at him and says he didn't deserve that, they just have no idea, they are living in the past, they are dinosaurs.

"Good on him, he's refreshed he's ready to go, world cricket needs AB de Villiers, he's brilliant, I'm glad to see him back."

Graeme Swann was speaking in association with Specsavers – title sponsor of the County Championship. For information www.specsavers.co.uk

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