Ab de Villiers is hoping to return to the South African Test side with a three-day warm-up game against Zimbabwe ahead of the inaugural four-day day-night Test. He also stressed that his break from cricket has helped him rediscover the love for the game and he feels ready to play Test cricket again.
The first ever four-day day/night Test, between South Africa and Zimbabwe, is scheduled to begin on Boxing Day, December 26, in Port Elizabeth. Before the match, however, the 33-year-old set to be featured in the three-day practice match which will start on 20 December in Paarl.
"We'd like to get him back in whites as soon as possible and we have some plans in place. There's the practice match which will be good for him," Linda Zondi, South Africa's convener of selectors told ESPNcricinfo.
In the recent matches of the Ram Slam T20 tournament, he scored 130 runs which included a half-century which has provided the selectors with some sort of confidence that the former skipper is ready to make a comeback to the international stage.
"The manner in which he has played has shown that he is ready. It was never a case of him being rusty but just about getting him match fitness," Zondi said.
The wicketkeeper-batsman played his last Test in January 2016 against England at the Centurian where he returned pavilion scoring ducks in both innings. Later, injuries kept him out of series against New Zealand and Australia and a self-imposed exile sidelined him from the longest format of the game. Since his last Test, de Villiers has played only one first-class game, for the Titans against Warriors. In 2017, the South African batsman played 19 matches in which he scored 773 runs including one century and five half-centuries. Ahead of any final development, he had explained to reporters that the long break had done him a world of good.
"I've had time at home to get fresh, time to work on my body, and time to work on skills I've not worked on in many years.," de Villiers had said.
"I've sort of rediscovered that love of the game. I've not had an off-season where I've gone to nets to work on my skills and technique for ages. Last year, in the peak of the season, I was less ready for Test cricket than I am now."