"No, there is no comeback. I made the mistake of saying 'never say never', which is a philosophy that I have always followed in my life. I was actually trying to say that I am focusing on the now, but it came out horribly wrong and the next minute there were headlines around the world," he said at the official launch of the Tshwane Spartans, one of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) franchises, at the SuperSport Park on Friday (October 26).
"I certainly do not want to confuse anyone around the world, especially the Proteas team. It will be very selfish and arrogant of me to throw statements around that I want to play at the World Cup. I am happy where I am and focusing on the now and I will never say 'never say never' again. My focus at the moment is to play good cricket in the Mzansi Super League for the Tshwane Spartans. I have been working hard to be fit."
The 34-year-old announced his retirement from international cricket in May this year after a fruitful 15-year long career, but there were rumours surfacing on social media and a few of the international media houses that he will make a comeback to the international arena ahead of the mega-event.
De Villiers, however, will represent Tshwane Spartans in MSL - Cricket South Africa's new T20 competition - that will get underway from November 16. The veteran said he is extremely excited to return to competitive cricket.
"I grew up here, I love playing cricket here, and this is where it all started for me. I could not have asked for a better base to play my cricket at," he gushed. I haven't played cricket for a while, but I am getting back into the swing of things. I have had these kinds of breaks before and it is always a challenge to get fit and hit balls again. I am really looking forward to that, and what will be a really good challenge in the Mzansi Super League."
De Villiers believes this competition has all the ingredients to lift cricket in South Africa. "It is a huge step in the right direction for Cricket South Africa, and South African cricket. As a unit, we'll be looking to not just pull this tournament off, but make it a great spectacle for fans around the world to enjoy," he said.
"It is difficult to say (how successful MSL would be) but the potential is huge. This tournament will give us a feel of what to expect and where it is going to go, but it will get better every single year. In the beginning, the IPL was a bit slow because people did not know where it was going to go, but look at it now."
Talking about South Africa's chances in the upcoming World Cup that will be played in England and Wales, de Villiers said the team is on right track, and he would like to see more in-form in the squad.
“I’m pretty positive. They’re still chopping and changing in the batting department, but you look around at the guys who are there, and they are all match-winners. The bowling unit seems to be in order to do really special things at the World Cup next year," said de Villiers, who led South Africa at the last World Cup Down Under, where they lost to New Zealand in a thrilling semi-final.
“I’d love to have experienced guys there, but they must be in form. I won’t say we got it wrong in the past, but I’d like to take in-form players to the World Cup who are confident with their games and will win you matches.”
First Published: October 26, 2018, 8:43 PM IST