South African former skipper AB de Villiers says he doesn’t want to create any “false hopes” of a much-awaited comeback at the T20 World Cup this year, which, he feels, could be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced the cancellation or postponement of many events but the T20 World Cup remains on schedule in Australia later this year for now.
“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 said.
“…I might get to a point where I have to tell coach Mark Boucher) I was interested, 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% 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 because 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.”
In January, de Villiers told reporters at the BBL that he would “love to” play for South Africa again and would “hopefully be involved pretty soon”. But, he was not included in South Africa’s T20I squads to play England or Australia in February, and indications were that de Villiers would be considered for fixtures after the IPL. South Africa are scheduled to play white-ball matches in Sri Lanka in June and five T20Is in the West Indies in July-August.
All those fixtures, including the IPL and the T20 World Cup are in doubt, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and de Villiers warned that his own situation may have changed when professional sport resumes.
“I can’t walk into the team. Like every other player, I have to work for my place and deserve it,” says AB de Villiers. However, if de Villiers decides he does not want to play, he may ask to be involved in a behind-the-scenes capacity.
South Africa are currently on day 18 of a 35-day country-wide lockdown, in which outdoor exercise is prohibited and there has been minimal disruption to cricket, which was due to enter its off-season at this time. Cricket South Africa is planning for the 2020-21 season as normal, with the Mzansi Super League, a competition de Villiers has played in for the previous two editions, scheduled for December. By then, either the T20 World Cup would have been played or postponed and de Villiers’ position will likely have become clearer.