Match Prediction: No de Villiers Comeback as CSA Name Squads for West Indies, Ireland Tours

Curtains came down on AB de Villiers’ international career “once and for all” with his exclusion from the South African squad visiting West Indies and Ireland in June 2021. The decision put to rest all speculations about AB making a comeback for the Men’s ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

The Cricket South Africa (CSA), in a press release, stated, “Discussions with AB de Villiers have concluded with the batsman deciding once and for all, that his retirement will remain final.”

The Build-up:

AB announced his retirement in 2018 at just 34, sending shockwaves across the international cricketing fraternity. He hung his boots after playing a test against Australia in April 2018, citing injuries and family as reasons for the decision. However, he hinted at staging a comeback many a time, and so did the Cricket South Africa (CSA), sending rumour mills on the overdrive.

Former skipper and current MD, CSA, Graeme Smith went on record revealing plans to facilitate the return of three other stalwarts into the national fold, including Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, and Chris Morris, besides AB. All four were in the reckoning according to Smith; however, none of them could make it to the squad for the forthcoming West Indies and Ireland tours.

Of late, South Africa has been in a rebuilding phase following the exit of top players from the international scene. Also, SA cricket has been plagued by unstable governance, leading to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) taking over the board administration in September 2020. The return of the stalwarts, especially AB, would have rendered solidarity to the young team on the twin tour and sped up the rebuilding phase.

Recent Form:

AB had a fine run of form in IPL 2021, even at the fag-end of his career when reflexes slow down and hand-eye coordination deteriorates. For his franchisee, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), AB scored 207 runs in seven matches, averaging 51.75 and striking at a rate of 164.28. Riding on a red hot form, he made a claim for his re-inclusion into the all-format South African squad.

Matches Runs Average Strike rate 100s/50s
IPL Career 176 5056 40.77 152.38 03 / 40
IPL 2021 07 207 51.75 164.28 00 / 02

Why does AB Matters?

From batting to keeping wickets and fielding in the outfield, there’s nothing that AB cannot do on a cricket field. An absolute genius and a proponent of 360-degree batting, he can decimate attacks with some swashbuckling stroke play. He switches between traditional and innovative batsmanship effortlessly, making him a batsman for all formats, conditions, and situations. He’s an outright match-winner and perhaps the best batsman in contemporary cricket even at 37.

Career stats:

Format Matches Runs Average Highest Score Strike rate 100s/50s
Test 114 8765 50.66 278* 54.51 22 / 46
ODI 228 9577 53.50 176 101.09 25 / 53
T20I 78 1672 26.12 79* 135.16 00 / 10
First Class 141 10689 49.71 278* 56.18 25 / 60
List A 263 11123 53.47 176 N/A 29 / 63

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