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‘He won’t just walk back into the team’ – South Africa’s assistant coach on AB de Villiers’ return

Earlier on Tuesday, AB de Villiers had said that he would "love to" make a return to South Africa team.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

It looks like AB de Villiers won’t be allowed to return to South Africa’s dressing room for the T20 World Cup straightaway. Just hours after the former Proteas skipper expressed his desire of donning the national jersey once again, South Africa’s assistant coach Enoch Nkwe made it clear that the comeback “is not just going to be as simple as that”.

De Villiers had retired from international cricket in 2018 but has continued playing in franchise cricket across the world. He is currently in Australia playing for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League. The right-handed batsman made his BBL debut on Tuesday and made an instant impact scoring 40 in his team’s win over Adelaide Strikers.

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Last year, there were reports suggesting that de Villiers had expressed his desire of playing in the World Cup. However, the South Africa team management had turned down his request. And while de Villiers has been very vocal this time around, Nkwe has made it clear that the comeback is not as easy as it is assumed to be.

“It’s not just going to be as simple as that,” Enoch Nkwe said on Tuesday (January 14). “From my experience of the last couple of weeks with how [head coach Mark Boucher] works, he really believes in processes – you’ve got to earn it. It’s not just walking into the team.”

“He has been involved in the [Mzansi Super League] and I’m sure that if he shows interest he will be involved in some of the series that we will be playing,” Nkwe was quoted as saying by cricbuzz.com. “We keep seeing him fully committed to these types of [T20] leagues, which shows that if we need experience like that we could actually call him up. I am sure that he would be someone who would love to do it for South Africa.”

AB de Villiers  on T20 World Cup

Earlier on Tuesday, AB de Villiers had said that he would “love to” make a return to South Africa team and play in this year’s T20 World Cup. At the same time, he also acknowledged that “there’s a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality”.

“I’ve been talking to [Boucher], [acting director of cricket] Graeme Smith and [captain] Faf [du Plessis] back home; we’re all keen to make it happen,” de Villiers was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“It’s a long way away still and plenty can happen. There’s the IPL coming up – I’ve still got to be in form at that time. So I’m thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out. It’s not a guarantee. I don’t want to disappoint myself or other people, so, for now, I’m just going to try and keep a low profile, try and play the best possible cricket that I can and then see what happens towards the end of the year,” he added.

Watch: Irfan Pathan’s interview post his retirement

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