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EXCLUSIVE | Experience Important but Form Will be Crucial at World Cup: AB de Villiers

Arjit Dabas |Cricketnext | Updated: November 17, 2018, 10:15 AM IST
EXCLUSIVE | Experience Important but Form Will be Crucial at World Cup: AB de Villiers


Although he won’t be part of the South African squad at the World Cup in 2019, having announced his retirement earlier this year, AB de Villiers is convinced that the Proteas can leave years of disappointment behind and win the title. Speaking to CricketNext, de Villiers was of the view that the crucial factor to ensure success in the tournament will be the form of the batsmen.

"I think the Proteas are looking good for the World Cup,” he said. “They have had a great series win against Australia, India and England are the other two teams that I feel have a good shot at the title. The bowlers look exceptional but we will be needing in-form batsmen to travel to England."

The 34-year old’s decision to call time on his career came as a big surprise and left a big hole in the South African middle order. While there has been speculation on and off that de Villiers could be persuaded to reconsider his decision, he insists that no such move is on the cards, saying his focus now is on spending time with his family after a decade-long playing career.

"I am extremely happy, I feel a lot of happiness in my heart and that’s important,” he said. “My relationships with my wife, my kids, my parents, my brothers are the most important things in my life & that’s exceptionally well in the last few years. So, I am a very happy man."

However, de Villiers hasn’t walked away entirely from cricket. He will continue to play in T20 competitions around the world including the IPL and is currently involved in the newly launched Mzansi Super League in South Africa. He is in fact captain of the Tshwane Spartans and scored with a half-century on Friday night in the tournament opener, though his team was beaten handily by Cape Town Blitz.

The tournament runs for the next month and de Villiers believes it will be a bonanza for South African fans. However, he dismissed fears that with a surfeit of T20 leagues coming up in different parts world, international cricket will lose its lustre, pointing to the extent of high-profile cricket action on offer to fans over the next few months.

"I am excited, the Mzansi Super League at Home,” he said. “It’s great that our home tournament is taking off & I am very proud of it.

"There are so many good players around the world playing in this tournament. Everyone (team) is looking good. Proteas are coming back. That will up the skill of the tournament as well. I believe it will help South African cricket development and give youngsters incredible exposure to play with some of the world superstars.

"Starting from the MSL till the end of the World Cup in 2019, there will be eight to nine months or almost 300 days of exciting cricket, which includes over 25 Test matches, ODIs & T20Is, involving all the top sides in the world. Leagues will only expose more talents to the global level. It will hopefully make the game healthier."
First Published: November 17, 2018, 10:03 AM IST

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