Graeme Smith advises ABD to give up captaincy and Test cricket

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Graeme Smith advises ABD to give up captaincy and Test cricket

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SportsCafe Desk

06/27/2017

Former South African skipper Graeme Smith has advised AB de Villiers to give up captaincy and Test cricket in order to focus on the 2019 World Cup and increase the longevity of his career. Smith also suggested that de Villiers had been wrongly criticised for wanting an out from the longest format.

AB de Villiers yesterday expressed his desire to win the maiden World Cup for South Africa and former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith seconded his opinion but advised him to give up the captaincy to focus on the upcoming 2019 World Cup better.

De Villiers had contemplated retiring from the longest format of the game a year ago but was later persuaded by Cricket South Africa officials to rethink his decision. The 33-year old has been absent from the Test team since January 2016 and also missed the tour of Australia due to his elbow injury.

Smith encouraged de Villiers to hang his whites for good.

"It’s my belief that AB was looking to walk away from the Test game last year at some point, but has been encouraged to carry on by CSA," he wrote.

"His personal prerogative is ensuring he does all he can to add as much longevity to his international career as possible, as well as taking into account the harsh realities of touring such as the amount of travel involved, and the toll that takes on your body.

"AB is due to assess his future with CSA later this summer, and my advice to him would be to step away from the captaincy, and concentrate his energy in to maintaining his levels in white-ball cricket for the next two years.

"Put simply, if that is what’s best for him and the longevity of his career, then that is what’s best for South African cricket. "Those criticising AB, and this decision in particular, need to ask themselves whether they would rather de Villiers played in the upcoming (Test) series and walked away from international cricket in a year, or have the opportunity to see him go on and play for his country at another big ICCtournament." he added. 

AB de Villiers has been in the line of fire recently owing to South Africa's consecutive series defeats. The Proteas lost the away series to England 3-2 followed by an early group stage exit from the 2017 Champions Trophy and their recent setback coming against England in the three-match T20 series which they lost 2-1. De Villiers will not be a part of the Test series against England which will commence on July 6th and departed home to rest after a jam-packed schedule.

The South African has scored over 8000 runs for his side in 106 Tests but has been criticised for opting out of some series. However, Smith insisted that he deserved no criticism for his choices.

"The last year to eighteen months has seen AB criticised for ‘picking and choosing’ his tours, and I don’t feel that the PR around the issue has been handled at all well by those around him," Smith wrote.

"We are talking about a South African great, a world cricket great, who’s played in over 100 Test Matches for his country over thirteen years.

"AB has already made huge sacrifices for South African cricket, over such a long period of time, and with the next ICC World Cup just two years away, it’s likely that he is targeting that tournament as a swansong to his already illustrious career at the top level.

"What has AB de Villiers got to prove to anyone? He’s a star, and those players are often expected to be available all of the time no matter what the consequences might be personally."

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