AB de Villiers steps down as South Africa ODI captain
Johannesburg: Legendary South African cricketer AB de Villiers on Wednesday stepped down as the captain of the One-Day International (ODI) side of the country.
Clearing the air over his Test future, he also announced that he would be available for selection in all three formats of the sport from September, when the Proteas team would kick start its home season.
AB de Villiers last led South Africa in ODIs during the ICC Champions Trophy, in May-June 2017, where his team was knocked out of the League Stage.
After the conclusion of the CT 2017, he had temporarily captained South Africa against England in a Twenty20 International (T20I) series, following unavailability of Faf du Plessis.
Mr. 360° announced his resignation through a video on his app. He said, it was the perfect time for him to step aside and let someone takeover the responsibility. He also backed Faf du Plessis, who has been praiseworthy while leading the Test and T20I teams.
"Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the T20 and Test teams, and bearing this in mind, I've informed Cricket South Africa that I would like to step down as captain of the ODI team," de Villiers said. "It has been an honour to lead the team for the past six years, but it is now time for somebody else to lead the ODI team forward."
There had been reports that De Villiers has decided not to play in Test Cricket, a decision which disappointed the fans of the most innovative and explosive batsman in the world. He had last represented the country in a Test match more than a year ago in January 2016 against England.
Since then, he has been away from the longest format of the sport either due to injuries or workload concerns. Clearing all the doubts about his disinterest in playing Tests, de Villiers completely dismissed suggestions that he was putting himself before the team.
"A lot has been said and written over the past 12 months and I feel it is time to make my position absolutely clear," de Villiers stated. "Over the past year or so, I've tried to manage my commitments. I've felt mentally and physically tired. Playing in all three formats ever since 2004 has taken its toll. Together with Cricket South Africa, we've tried to develop a viable schedule which allows me to prolong my career for as long as possible. This strategy has prompted some people to say that I'm picking and choosing when to play for the Proteas and even to suggest I'm somehow putting myself before the team. This is simply not true. Playing for South Africa is and will always be the greatest privilege of my life.
"Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived. I want to get back on the field and I have assured the national selectors that I'll be available for selection in all three formats of the game during the coming season. There is plenty of hard work ahead in the nets and I must prepare properly. But I'll be ready to play, if required, from the middle of October onwards."
South Africa would be next touring Bangladesh for a series in September this year. The tour will have two Tests, three ODIs and two T20Is.
South Africa's next assignment is against Bangladesh, when they come touring in late September. The tour begins with a two-Test series, followed by three ODIs and two T20Is.