Widely-followed South African swashbuckler AB de Villiers is exploring the possibility of coming out of retirement for next year's T20 World Cup, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has revealed.
Du Plessis said that talks have been going on for nearly three months to get the star batsman back into international cricket ahead of the marquee event in October next year.
“People want AB to play and I am no different,” said Du Plessis, who was responding to a comment by new South African head coach Mark Boucher that he would welcome having De Villiers in his team.
“Those conversations have been happening for two or three months already: what does it look like, how does it look over the next year, and that's where it starts," he added.
Speaking after leading his Paarl Rocks team to an eight-wicket victory over the Boucher-coached Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League final at Boland Park, Du Plessis said his immediate focus was on preparing for a Test series against England which starts in Centurion on December 26.
"Obviously Test cricket is the most important thing right now but T20 cricket is a different beast," said Du Plessis.
Considered one of the greatest players to have played for South Africa, former skipper De Villiers quit international cricket in March last year citing exhaustion from the workload that he had often talked about. His any comeback would probably be limited to Twenty20 internationals as he has become a specialist in the short form of the game.
He made a half-century for Tshwane in Monday's final but will soon be on his way to Australia to play in that country's Big Bash League.
“It’s not a lot of time away from home. Obviously with a full campaign you have to spend a lot of time on the road. The T20 World Cup is not too far away and there isn’t a long list of T20 internationals over the season.”Faf du Plessis on AB de Villiers’ comeback
South Africa will play three home T20 internationals against England and another three against Australia between 12 February and 26 February.
Du Plessis welcomed the dramatic changes which have taken place in South African cricket over the past week, which have resulted in former captain Graeme Smith being appointed interim director of cricket and Boucher being made head coach.
"It was the dark ages last week and there is a little light this week," he said.
"It's very important. It will help the dressing room and even the support of the team. Everyone wants the team to do well, everyone wants to make sure we get the right people in the right positions. It's exciting. I'm very excited with the start of this new journey,” he added.