Coronavirus Delay Could Deny de Villiers' International Return

South African great AB de Villiers admits his mooted return to international cricket for this year’s T20 World Cup is in limbo due to the potential delay caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

De Villiers, 36, retired from international cricket in May 2018 but has long been rumoured with a return to South Africa ranks, with the side experiencing a period of transition. He pushed but failed to make the squad for last year’s 50-over World Cup.

All the while, de Villiers has continued playing cricket in T20 leagues around the world, including with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and the Brisbane Heat in Australia’s Big Bash League earlier this year.

South African director of cricket Graeme Smith and head coach Mark Boucher previously confirmed their interest in the veteran batsman returning for the T20 World Cup which is due to take place in Australia in October and November.

No decision has been made by the ICC or Cricket Australia on this year’s T20 World Cup amid the coronavirus outbreak which has halted sporting competition and leagues across the globe, and created a scheduling squeeze within cricket.

De Villiers told South African outlet Rapport that any delay may affect his potential availability for the prestigious T20 tournament.

“If the tournament is postponed to next year, a whole lot of things will change,” de Villiers said.

“At the moment I feel available but at the same time, I don’t know how my body will feel then and if I will be fit.

“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%.”

South Africa is currently in lockdown, just over halfway through a five-week period due to COVID-19, with de Villiers trying to stay in condition.




The veteran played in South Africa’s Mpanzi Super League in November and December, before heading to Australia to play for the Heat, who missed the BBL finals.

“I last played cricket in January and may not play for the next three months,” de Villiers said.

“My situation may be changing and I might get to a point where I have to tell ‘Bouch’ I was interested and I would like to play a role but I’m not going to play myself.”

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