Proteas batsman de Villiers to reduce workload, but not retire

Cape Town, Dec 28 (IANS) South Africa’s talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman AB de Villiers is set to cut down on his workload in all the three formats but reports of his retirement have been dismissed.

The cricket world was thrown into a tizzy when Afrikaans newspaper Rapport reported that the highly-popular batsman, currently the world No.1 One-Day International (ODI) batsman and No.3 Test batsman was considering his future in the Test arena.

But Proteas pacer Morne Morkel rubbished the report. Later, commentator and former first-class cricketer Mike Haysman moved to clear up the situation.

“He’s got a back injury that he’s got to manage, which is a constant concern for everybody and he says he’s going to be looking to lessen his workloads in all three formats. There is no thought that he will retire from the game as some of the rumours (claim),” Haysman was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Monday.

Former England captain Michael Atherton said he expects to see more players following in the footsteps of 31-year-old de Villiers and reducing workloads because of the “unsustainable” pressure of international cricket.

“It is a warning sign for the game. When you look at the game more generally, take the AB de Villiers situation as a specific, you’ll get more and more players doing this because the demands on the players are becoming unsustainable. The cricket calendar is absolutely bursting at the seams … (and) it’s not just international cricket,” Atherton said.

“Now the opportunities for players to do well financially in the domestic franchise Twenty20 tournaments all round the world is an extra element to the cricket calendar. For players like AB de Villiers who are in high demand from their national teams in all three formats and then domestic franchise competitions, something has to give,” added Atherton.

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