AB DE VILLIERS COMEBACK
AB de Villiers will now play a round of four-day cricket to prove his form and fitness ahead of South Africa’s next Test assignments. © Getty
AB de Villiers will make his long-awaited return to long-form cricket when he turns out for the Titans in a Sunfoil series – South Africa’s first-class domestic tournament – match against the Warriors in Benoni on Friday (October 6).
De Villiers’s last first-class match was back in January 2016, when he registered his first pair in a Test match as South Africa beat England in the fourth Test at Centurion. Since then the 33-year-old has undergone elbow surgery that kept him out of action until January, when he announced that he would be taking a break from Test cricket.
At the time, de Villiers said that he needed a sabbatical from the five-day game so that he could prolong his career and target the 2019 World Cup in England. He went on to miss Test series in New Zealand and England, before announcing in August that he would make himself available for all three formats from the middle of October.
However, with South Africa playing limited-overs matches against Bangladesh in the second half of October, and the Sunfoil Series not running between the end of October and February, de Villiers will now play a round of four-day cricket to prove his form and fitness ahead of South Africa’s next Test assignments.
In a media release that announced de Villiers among the SA Invitation XI that will play against Bangladesh in a 50-over match next Thursday (October 11), South Africa’s selection convenor confirmed that de Villiers would be playing for the Titans this week.
“We are expecting AB to play in the next round of Sunfoil Series matches but he too will benefit from some game time in the shorter format,” Zondi said of de Villiers’s selection in the 50-over side to play Bangladesh.
The Proteas’ next long-form assignment after the Bangladesh tour is a four-day match against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day that is expected to be the first four-day Test in four decades. The game’s Test status will need to be ratified at the ICC meeting next month.
Thereafter, South Africa host India for three Tests in the New Year, before Australia visit for four Tests in March and April.