24 Aug 2017

de Villiers to return to test cricket

8:03 am on 24 August 2017

Batsman AB de Villiers has stepped down as South Africa's one-day cricket captain but says he is ready once more to play all three formats of the game at international level.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers.

South Africa captain AB de Villiers. Photo: Photosport

The decision ends an 18-month self-imposed exile from test cricket by the 33-year old South African.

De Villiers sat out South Africa's recent 3-1 test series defeat to England amid speculation that he was ready to ditch the five-day game having not played in the format since January 2016 through a combination of injury and personal reasons.

But with series to come in the 2017/18 season at home to India and Australia, De Villiers, 33, said he is now available once more.

"Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived," De Villiers said.

"I want to get back on the field and I have today assured the national selectors that I will be available for selection in all three formats of the game during the coming season."

De Villiers averages more than 50 in test cricket and his return will bolster a batting line-up that struggled for runs against England.

De Villiers has however given up on his dream of captaining his country at the 2019 World Cup. De Villiers led South Africa in the Champions Trophy in England in June when they failed to make the last four.

"Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the Twenty20 and test teams, and bearing this in mind, I have informed Cricket South Africa that I would like to step down as captain of the ODI team," he said.

"It has been an honour to lead the team for the past six years, but it is now time for someone else to take the ODI side forward," he added.