AB to return only if at ‘100 per cent’
AB de Villiers doesn’t want to create any “false hope” of a much-awaited comeback in the T20 World Cup this year, which he feels could be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I can’t see six months into the future. If the tournament is postponed to next year, a whole lot of things will change.
“At the moment, I feel available, but at the same time I don’t know how my body will see it and if I will be healthy at that time,” De Villiers told the Afrikaans-language Sunday newspaper Rapport.
“...I might get to a point where I have to tell Bouchie (coach Mark Boucher) I was interested and I would like to play a role, but I’m not going to be able to play myself.
I’m afraid of such a commitment and creating false hope,” he added.
De Villiers said he does not feel entitled to walk into the South African team as has been alleged in the past.
“If I am 100 per cent as good as I want to be, then I will be available.
“But if I am not, I won’t open myself up to that because I am not the type of person who does things at 80 per cent. Then I have to do trials and show Bouchie I’m still good enough.
“They should choose me only if I’m really better than the guy next to me. I’ve never been the type of person who felt I should get just what I wanted.”
The T20 World Cup in Australia in October and November could be a perfect stage for De Villiers coming back, but he was mindful of avoiding a repeat of the debacle that unfolded during last year’s 50-over World Cup in the UK after reports emerged that he casually expressed an offer to come back and was rejected.
“I am uncertain about giving a definite answer because I have been very hurt and burned in the past. Then people will again think I have turned my back on our country. I can’t just walk into the team.
“I have to work for my place and deserve it. It was very hurtful for me last year when people thought I assumed there was a place for me. I feel available and I will give it a go with everything I have, but I don’t want special treatment.”
If De Villiers can make a comeback, the credit would go to Boucher, who convinced him to rethink his retirement decision that was taken in 2018.
“I could write a book on Bouchie’s impact just on my life, never mind cricket. I rediscovered that when I played under him at the Spartans (in the Mzansi Super League) in December.
“He was born to be an instructor. When he talks, there’s respect.”
“Bouchie asked me why I didn’t give it another go,” De Villiers said. “I’ve always said to him, ‘I’ve never not wanted to be there. I’ve always wanted to be there. It’s just that my life has changed’.”
De Villiers played in 176 of Boucher’s 461 matches for South Africa across formats.