Africa’s batting maverick AB de Villiers hasn’t featured in the longest format of the game since January 2016. No wonder, cricket lovers all around the world are eagerly waiting to see him in whites. Since De Villiers had recently withdrawn from the practice match against South Africa Invitation XI due to his persistent back problem, fans are equally interested to know about his recovery.
Earlier this week, Proteas team manager Dr. Mohammed Moosajee had informed that “AB de Villiers is struggling with lower back stiffness and has been withdrawn from the three-day warm-up match as a precaution.”
However, in his recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, de Villiers talked at length about several matters – from his lower back strain problems to the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe and series against India. The 33-year-old confessed that lower back is still a cause of concern for him and thus he will have to manage his workload.
Here are the excerpts from the chat:
On his persistent back problem – “It’s not really a big problem. It’s a little niggle, something I have had for the last eight or nine years and something I have to manage with my workload. I had a few intense games in the last few months and I started feeling it again towards the end of the Ram Slam finals. I was honest with the convener and a few guys and asked them for a few days off. The doctor also treated me and suggested I take a few days off. I needed a bit of rest and I feel fit and ready to go again.”
Excited about red ball challenge – “I started off end of July facing red balls at the University of Pretoria, getting some technical stuff sorted out and I feel more ready than ever to take it on. I have been working for the last six months to get ready for this. It’s always been my theory that there’s not a massive difference between the formats.”
Eager to achieve the No. 1 Test status – “I (still) want to contribute. I want to play knocks and have my say in the field, my experience, take some catches in order for us to win games of cricket. Obviously we’d like to be No.1 in the world, we are not far away. We know if we win a few series in the next two or three months against very tough opposition we can achieve that.”
On India series – “They’ve played a lot better over the last few series we’ve played here compared to the 90s. They are a team that’s young and determined. We know all about Virat Kohli, how determined he is as captain; he’ll definitely come here trying to win and to make history. It will be a great challenge.”