AB de Villiers to miss NZ Test series

AB de Villiers will not be retiring from Test cricket, but South Africa's one-day captain will sit out the upcoming series against New Zealand as he figures out the best way to manage his workload ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

But the 32-year-old, who has 21 centuries to his name from 106 Tests and averages 50.46, has conceded he may have to make "certain choices" to achieve his dream of being fit for the 2019 World Cup in England.

De Villiers, who stepped down as test captain a year ago, but retains the ODI captaincy, missed South Africa's last three test series because of an elbow injury, but is expected to make his global comeback in a Twenty20 against Sri Lanka on January 25.

"I'm hoping to make a comeback with the Titans (his first-class franchise team) towards the end of the year in preparation for the series against India and Australia".

"I'm not retiring out of Test cricket, I'm not retiring out of any format, that's for sure. It's important to play the other formats but mentally and physically I need to be in a good space come the 2019 World Cup and that's what I am aiming for", he said.

One of the finest limited-overs batsmen of a generation, that shift in priorities is another blow to the health of Test cricket. Playing three formats it felt like the world is on my shoulder. A lot of things played a role in this decision. It is definitely not the end of the story. I'm not retiring out of any format, I'm not prepared to do that. It's just a case of when he starts or when he returns, because once he starts, there's no stopping and no time off. "When you play, you play continuously". ODI cricket is the focus because he's the captain.

Under Faf du Plessis' leadership and in de Villiers' absence, South Africa won their two most recent series - first in Australia and then at home against Sri Lanka.

After Sunday, De Villiers hopes to be available for the final T20 global against the Sri Lankans at Newlands next Wednesday following which he will resume captaincy duties for the five match ODI series against the same opponents starting on January 28. The five-match ODI series starts in 10 days' time.

"It feels pretty good". "I'm aware of my elbow".

"I can hit all my shots with the same type of power that I used to".

"I feel the IPL has become part of the global schedule. I have been hitting the ball really well with the couple of net sessions I had". I have never wanted to miss a game for South Africa, and I still don't.

He has also made himself unavailable for any T20 leagues except the Indian Premier League. "There's a lot of reasons why a lot of us wouldn't say "no" to an IPL contract", he said.

"I think people are picking up where my state of mind is", he said. The IPL has become part of the ICC set-up, you won't see me at any other leagues.

  • Angelo Rivera