While it was reported on Monday that the South African ODI captain will take a call on his future in August, it is learnt that the maverick batsman may call it quits from the longer format of the game to focus on the World Cup 2019.
AB de Villiers, who was offered a one-year break from Test cricket after he thought of walking away from five-day cricket last year, is pondering to retire from Test cricket and is expected to meet Cricket South Africa following the appointment of new Proteas coach in August, a report in ESPNcricinfo said.
It is also indicated that the 2019 World Cup in England will be the swansong for the 33-year-old South African.
Former South African skipper Graeme Smith, meanwhile, urged his ex-teammate to give up ODI captaincy and focus all his energies on limited-overs cricket. While AB led South Africa in three-match T20 series against Eoin Morgan and Co on the back of another early exit from the ICC event, Faf du Plessis, who is in South Africa with his wife as they expect their first baby and gave the T20 series a miss, is Proteas Test and T20 captain.
“AB is due to assess his future with CSA later this summer, and my advice to him would be to step away from the captaincy, and concentrate his energy in to maintaining his levels in white ball cricket for the next two years. Put simply, if that is what’s best for him and the longevity of his career, then that is what’s best for South African cricket,” wrote Smith in his column for Independent.
“AB has already made huge sacrifices for South African cricket, over such a long period of time, and with the next ICC World Cup just two years away, it’s likely that he is targeting that tournament as a swansong to his already illustrious career at the top level. What has AB De Villiers got to prove to anyone? He’s a star, and those players are often expected to be available all of the time no matter what the consequences might be personally,” added Smith.
AB, whose captaincy came under the scanner post South Africa’s league-stage exit from the ICC Champions Trophy, was defiant to continue to lead as team’s ODI skipper despite the campaign-ending loss against Virat Kohli-led Team India.