Star batsman AB de Villiers on Wednesday stepped down as the captain of the South Africa one-day team with immediate effect. However, the 33-year-old also made it clear that he will be available for selection in all three formats of the game. The announcement from de Villiers comes at a time when there are speculations regarding his Test future doing the rounds in the media.
De Villiers announced on Twitter that he has informed Cricket South Africa that he would like to step down as captain of the ODI team. De Villiers also took a jibe at those who had critised his much talked-about absence from Test cricket, saying that he along with Cricket South Africa tried to develop a viable schedule in order to prolong his cricketing career.
"A lot has been said and written over the past 12 months, and I feel it is time to make my position absolutely clear. Over the past year or so, I have tried to manage many commitments. I have felt mentally and physically tired; my wife and I are bringing up two fantastic kids and playing in all three formats ever since 2004 has taken its toll.
"Together with Cricket South Africa, we have tried to develop a viable schedule which allows me to prolong my career for as long as possible. This strategy has prompted some people to say I am picking and choosing when to play for the Proteas, and even to suggest I am somehow putting myself before the team. That is simply not true. That has never been true. Playing for South Africa is, and will always be, the greatest privilege of my life. Now to move forward.
"Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the T20 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. 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. Whoever is chosen as the new ODI captain will have my complete support.
"Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived. 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. There is plenty of hard work ahead in the nets and I must prepare properly, but I will be ready to play, if required, from the middle of October onwards.
"Lastly, if I am lucky enough to be selected, I can't guarantee runs and catches. Nobody can do that. But what I can absolutely guarantee is 100% commitment to the Proteas in every format of the game, as and when required. That was my promise when I made my debut in 2004; and that is my promise today."
In January, De Villiers announced that he would be a taking a break from Test format in order to shift his focus entirely on ODI s and T20. He has also not appeared in the longest format of the game since January last year as he struggled with injury over much of the past 18 months.
De Villiers has notched up 8,074 runs in 106 Tests, including 21 centuries, he played so far for South Africa at an average of 50.46.