CSA says de Villiers will not come out of international retirement

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Johannesburg, May 18 (PTI) Cricket South Africa on Tuesday announced that AB de Villiers won't be coming out of international retirement ahead of the upcoming T20 World Cup in India, saying that he has decided 'once and for all' to not change his mind.

Putting to rest speculations around his comeback, CSA said that 'discussions with AB de Villiers have concluded with the batsman deciding once and for all, that his retirement will remain final.' The statement was reportedly made after CSA announced the team for upcoming tour of the West Indies, though it focussed largely on the squads for the the two Test matches and five T20Is in the Caribbean islands rather than de Villiers' retirement.

In May 2018, de Villiers had announced his retirement from international cricket. He played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is before announcing the surprise decision.

However, last month the 37-year-old versatile cricketer said it would be 'fantastic' to make an international comeback ahead of the T20 World Cup.

The T20 World Cup is scheduled to be held in India in October-November.

'If I can slot in, it will be fantastic,' de Villiers had said after he playing match-winning innings for his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore in the now-suspended IPL in April.

Speaking to the reporters in Chennai, de Villiers had then said he will have a chat with South Africa head coach Mark Boucher at the end of IPL 2021 while assessing his form and fitness after RCB's campaign in the 14th season of the T20 tournament.

One of South Africa's greatest cricketers, de Villiers looked in great form in the Indian Premier League until it was indefinitely suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talk of a comeback has constantly surrounded de Villiers since his sudden retirement three years ago, including coming close to a last-minute inclusion in South Africa's squad for the 2019 World Cup before the selectors and the team management thought otherwise.

West Indies will be South Africa's first bilateral tour to the Caribbean since 2010, followed by a tri-series in 2016 that also featured Australia.

This tour, which had to be rescheduled from 2020, will include two Tests and five T20 Internationals from June 10 to July 3. in St. Lucia and Grenada respectively.

'COVID-19 has played havoc with the ICC Future Tours Programme and we are thankful to Cricket West Indies and the governments of St. Lucia and Grenada for ensuring that the tour goes ahead as planned,' CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith said in a statement.

'The hosting nations, in particular, came to the party at very short notice and Cricket South Africa would like to extend its immense gratitude to them for their enthusiasm and willingness to host us.' PTI AH PM PM

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