England in South Africa 2015-16 February 2, 2016

De Villiers targets fast approach

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AB de Villiers' workload management will not include taking time off from the IPL, South Africa's Test and ODI captain has confirmed. However, he may look to lessen some national commitments at the end of next month's World T20 in India, which leads directly into the six-week IPL tournament in April and May.

"I'm still going to play in the IPL," de Villiers said ahead of the first ODI against England in Bloemfontein. "It would be stupid of me to turn my back on that. It's played a big role in my career, in me growing as a player."

"I see it as a really important part of my career. So I'm not going to let that go. But there are some other areas that I'll look at to rest a little bit. I'm very committed at the moment to be captain in the two formats and to play T20s as well. We've got a World Cup coming up, and I'm just taking it one game at a time."

With de Villiers now confirmed as Test captain and having made public his desire to play in another 50-over World Cup, it appears international T20s may be the first to go, despite the increasing irrelevance of bilateral ODI series.

But for de Villiers, ODIs remain an important playground. In South Africa's last home series, against West Indies in January 2015, he broke the record for the fastest century in 50-over cricket and he's hinted there may be more where that came from.

"I never thought in my wildest dreams that I could scored a hundred in 31 balls, or even close to 50. I surprise myself every time I do that. I keep believing I can do stuff like that but the focus is always on winning games for the team," he said. "That's probably my biggest strength - I focus so much on winning the game that before I realise it I've scored a hundred off close to 30 balls. Things like that are always possible when you aim bigger and have a bigger cause."

In this series the bigger cause is South Africa's need to prove to their fans that they are still on track despite back-to-back Test series defeats.

"We're playing at home so there is added pressure on us. We beat India in the last [ODI] series, which was a massive win," de Villiers said. "We've got momentum on our side but we haven't played England for a long time. They seem to be playing really good cricket. So we'll be wary of them. But hopefully we'll get on top of them tomorrow and then use our home advantage to win this series."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Krishhna249 on February 3, 2016, 11:44 GMT

    Whatever is behind his interest in playing IPL, I'm really happy that he is a part of the T20 tournament. It is actually the only tournament right now in the world where the top players from different countries at present (not just retired ones) , are part of. Sure, the big amount that they receive is the major reason behind it. Still, what is the big deal in it. There are billions viewing it and enjoying watching their favorite stars from different countries play alongside each other. Just imagine, who would have thought Virat & AB playing together or Warner & Kane williomson playing together, if not for IPL. I'm really happy that he decided not to quit IPL and actually would love to see more English and Pakistani players being a part of it.

  • Lerato H Nyelele Mjoli on February 3, 2016, 6:39 GMT

    when last did sa lose a game with AB playing when batting 1st oh ya the world cup semi final and that was because of the rain interference. .....England will pray to win the toss and batt 1st that's a win for them the other alternative will be a massacre. .....

  • AltafPatel on February 3, 2016, 4:50 GMT

    He never won ODI or T20 WC for SA but certainly made No.1 Test team fire long time. Nothing to give credit to IPL. Certainly his answer came after his IPL franchise asked him to praise and commit them, which he did.

  • AltafPatel on February 3, 2016, 4:48 GMT

    @UNBIASED-VIEWS AB had not been only quick runners, but also good test batsman. Do you think that skills can learned from IPL. He is naturally good player regardless playing IPL or not.

  • Unbiased-views on February 3, 2016, 4:03 GMT

    @LANDL47 Are you out of your mind? ABD wasn't the same player before IPL began...he tried all his innovative shots in IPL before showing those skills in International games...I'm damn sure that if IPL wasn'y played, ABD wouldn't have been the same player esp in ODI's & T20's....Also, check stats of ABD before IPL & after IPL

  • landl47 on February 2, 2016, 22:51 GMT

    Apart from the IPL, how much T20 cricket does ABD play? 6 games in each of the last 2 years. That's about 18 hours of cricket per year, or 2/3rds of one test match. If he thinks cutting back on T20Is will lower his workload to any measurable extent he's kidding himself.

    Still, I love his comment that the IPL has "...played a big part in my career, in me growing as a player." C'mon, ABD, no-one thinks any the worse of you for making money while you can. Just don't pretend the IPL is anything other than a means to secure your future. If the money was the same, you'd drop IPL and play for your country in a heartbeat. Anyone would feel the same.

  • lesleyCric on February 2, 2016, 20:57 GMT

    "England has come a long way" so they say, but This SA side is just a bridge too far.

  • Brokensaint on February 2, 2016, 19:38 GMT

    I have lost a bit of respect for de Villiers after this time be honest

  • Cricket_LoversIND on February 2, 2016, 16:40 GMT

    Good that he is praising IPL

  •   Aditya Subramaniam on February 2, 2016, 16:39 GMT

    I'm no longer surprised when players say "i'm tired and can't play so much cricket" and then immediately turn around and say "no, i'm playing throughout the ipl"... It's just painful to watch some of these guys who are so damn good turn their backs on their national teams with little consideration to the future of international cricket.

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