Having started the Indian Premier League in fine form, South Africa superstar AB de Villiers on Sunday said it will be “fantastic” to make an international comeback ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in India in October-November.
“We are lined up to have a chat sometime during the IPL. But yes, we’ve been talking about it already,” de Villiers said after he played another match-winning innings for his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL in Chennai on Sunday.
“Last year, he asked me if I would be interested. And I said, ‘absolutely’. And come the end of the IPL, we will have a look at where we are at with regards to my form and my fitness.
The prolific batsman added he will be fine with it even if he is not able to make a comeback.
De Villiers, 37, said he is going to communicate with South Africa head coach Mark Boucher towards the end of the IPL.
“Also, the situation with his team – he’s got to look at his guys who have been performing well over the last while. If there’s no space for me, so be it. If I can slot in there, it will be fantastic if all those things fall in place. Waiting for [the chat with] Bouchy towards the end of the IPL, and we will then plan accordingly.”
On Friday, Boucher had hinted at de Villiers’ possible international comeback.
Boucher, a former South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman, has also revealed about the conversation he had with the RCB star ahead of the IPL 2021.
“I did chat to him before he went to the IPL,” Boucher had said.
“The conversation is still very much open. AB being the person he is, he wanted to perform very well at the IPL, to prove to himself and everyone else that he is still a very key figure in world cricket and could dominate at that level,” Boucher had said.
In May 2018, de Villiers had announced his retirement from international cricket. He played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is before announcing his surprise retirement.
McCullum expects changes for KKR
Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum on Sunday said his side will make a few changes for their upcoming IPL matches in Mumbai and hoped a change in personnel and venue will revive their campaign.
KKR lost to RCB by 38 runs – their second defeat in the ongoing edition – to slip to sixth place in the standings.
“We will probably need fresh legs, expect to make a couple of changes and there will also be a change in venue with Mumbai,” McCullum said at the virtual post-match press conference.
KKR have, so far, played their matches in Chennai.
“… New place but we have just tidy up some of the areas and we can bounce back in the next couple of games,” the former New Zealand captain added.
KKR skipper Eoin Morgan’s decision to take out spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who dismissed Virat Kohli and Rajat Patidar in the match’s second over, was baffling.
McCullum admitted it was wrong on their part to take Varun out of the bowling attack after that excellent over.
“In hindsight, we would have bowled him then. It was wrong on our part to remove him after that over. Our main aim was to keep him for De Villiers but the plan backfired,” McCullum said.
Batting first, De Villiers’ master class and Glenn Maxwell’s counter-attacking half-century propelled RCB to an imposing 204 for four. In reply, KKR were stopped at 166 for eight as RCB regained the top spot in the pecking order.
Asked about the South African star batsman, McCullum said, “It appears he has come this year with a fresh approach, he is clearly looking very confident, he took the game away from us. This is what world class players do, they put so much pressure on the opposition.
“It was quite a sizeable boundary on one side and quite shorter on other but some tremendous batting from both AB and Maxwell, they took the pitch out of question and put us under pressure. We had to be perfect with our execution, but unfortunately, it wasn’t.”
Asked about all-rounder Sunil Narine’s status, the legendary Kiwi said, “Sunil has had a bit of an injury issue, he wasn’t 100% fit, was touch and go for today’s game, and we opted for Shakib as he has done so well for us, he also gives us that extra bit in batting.”
You can watch AB de Villiers’ press conference here.
You can watch Brendon McCullum’s press conference here.
(With PTI inputs)