AB de Villiers expecting quick recovery to play in the inaugural 'Pink' Test

AB de Villiers
South African coach Russell Domingo (L) smiles as he talks with captain AB de Villiers. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

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The Proteas cricketers fans, who recently celebrated their team’s fantastic win over hosts Australia in the series opener at WACA, one more great reason rejoice as recent reports suggest that batting stalwart AB de Villiers is recovering from the elbow injury much faster than anticipated. This development has multiplied his chances of being fit to play in South Africa’s inaugural day-night Test.

FoxSports has learnt that De Villiers is keen to play in the third Test, which begins on November 24. There is a chance to fly out to Australia as early as next week. However for the sake of what could be a dead rubber if the Proteas win at Hobart, de Villiers is resigned to continuing his rehabilitation in order to be fit for South Africa’s Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth.

While it’s believed the main motivating factor for de Villiers is his desire to be part of a third-straight winning series in Australia, he is also eager to encounter the pink ball. South Africa opposed a pink ball Test in Adelaide earlier this year, but eventually caved on the condition that they would be granted two day-night warm-up games, including one in between the second and third Tests.

Victoria will host South Africa in a pink ball fixture at the MCG on November 19 and 20 in preparation for the third Test of the series. If de Villiers played in Adelaide, it would be his first competitive hit-out since July. South Africa’s management is reluctant to take a risk but that hasn’t stopped the champion batsman pushing his case already.

“It would be a dream come true to play in a day-night Test against Australia,” de Villiers told Adelaide’s 5AA radio station in early October. Maybe after the six weeks, if I do fly over straight away, I’ll be there for the second Test match. There may be an opportunity to prepare during that game — not play in it — and then be ready for the Adelaide Test.”

South African coach Russell Domingo played down de Villier’s potential return earlier this week, but didn’t categorically rule it out.

“I doubt it. He’s been caddying for a mate at a golf tournament. So I don’t think he’s going to be fit for Adelaide to be honest.”

Financially there are also significant benefits, with the No. 7 ranked Test batsman in the world recently signing on with Indian manufacturing giant MRF for three years in a multi-million dollar deal.

Part of the contract hinges on him playing all three forms of cricket for South Africa for the next three years, which appears to put to bed rumours that he was considering retirement from the longest format.

“I will have to manage myself to get there (to the 2019 World Cup). I’ve always been a fit guy, I could maybe go even further than 2019. But to me, 2019 is the main one. I would love to be around for that World Cup.”

De Villiers has played 106 Tests and made more than 8000 runs since debuting in late 2004. He took over from Hashim Amla as captain in January but hasn’t played a Test since. Faf du Plessis has stood in as skipper in his absence.