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De Villiers confirms return to Test cricket, resigns as ODI captain

AB de Villiers has confirmed his return to Test cricket
AB de Villiers has confirmed his return to Test cricket

As a big boost to South Africa's chances to reclaim the pole position in International Cricket Council rankings, star batsman AB de Villiers has announced that he will be available for selection in the longer format ahead of the upcoming season.

The 33-year-old has been picking and choosing series to prolong his career until the 2019 World Cup and his last appearance in the Test format coming way back in January last year.

De Villiers, who led the Proteas in the One-Day International and Twenty20 International series in the recently concluded tour in England pulled out of the Test series, which they went on to lose 2-1.

Earlier, de Villiers said he will consult with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and take a decision on his future and his return is a welcome sign for Faf du Plessis' side, who has been struggling to put up decent totals on the board.

"Following this recent break, I really do feel refreshed and revived," De Villiers said in a statement released on his behalf by CSA on Wednesday.

"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."

However, the Titans star has decided to step down from his captaincy role in the One-Day Internationals after disappointing results in England where they lost the ODI and T20I series against the hosts to go with a disappointing Champions Trophy campaign.

"Faf du Plessis has proved to be an outstanding captain of the Twenty20 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," he said.

"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," he added.

His decision to pick and choose series was slammed by number of players including his former team-mates but de Villiers played down criticism and insisted that he had always put his team above himself.

"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," he said

"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," he added.

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