AB de Villiers is expected to retire from Test cricket as early as August, in a second attempt at hanging up his whites, unless CSA can convince him to stay on again.
In a column for The Independent Graeme Smith all but confirmed this information when he wrote: “It’s my belief that AB was looking to walk away from the Test game last year at some point, but has been encouraged to carry on by CSA. His personal prerogative is ensuring he does all he can to add as much longevity to his international career as possible, as well as taking in to account the harsh realities of touring such as the amount of travel involved, and the toll that takes on your body.
“AB has already made huge sacrifices for South African cricket, over such a long period of time, and with the next ICC World Cup just two years away, it’s likely that he is targeting that tournament as a swansong to his already illustrious career at the top level. What has AB de Villiers got to prove to anyone? He’s a star, and those players are often expected to be available all of the time no matter what the consequences might be personally.”
Smith’s advice to de Villiers is to “step away from the captaincy”, and concentrate on maintaining his energy levels for the World Cup. If anyone would know about such things, it’s Smith. He gave up the limited-overs captaincy after the 2011 World Cup, following nine years in charge in all formats but continued playing before an unexpected retirement in 2014.