Cricket

AB de Villiers' thoughts on the international schedule reflects growing concern over the future of Test cricket.

Doubts remain for new captain AB de Villiers

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AB de Villiers may have just inherited the South African Test captaincy but concerns over burnout mean he is refusing to commit to the post beyond the current series against England.

De Villiers is one of world cricket's most in-demand players but he admits the congested nature of the international schedule, allied to the lucrative Twenty20 contracts on offer, have forced him to consider his future.

Speculation circulated before Christmas that De Villiers was considering retirement from Test cricket, or at least becoming a less permanent fixture in the side, and that appears to have been more accurate than Cricket South Africa would like.

Having only taken the captaincy following Hashim Amla's resignation in Cape Town, De Villiers could yet pass it up after the next two Tests.

"There have been a few rumours floating around and in most rumours there is always a little bit of truth," he said on the eve of the third Test in Johannesburg.

"It is not just in the last while, in the last two or three years I've been searching for the right answers to play a little bit less cricket in one way or another, to keep myself fresh and to keep enjoying the game.

"I've found myself on the pitch in the past few years, every now and then, not enjoying myself as much as I should be and that raises concerns within myself.

"I've been searching for answers and speaking to a few people and that has leaked a little bit.

"I'm still very committed. To the job? I'm not sure.

"The two Test matches for now is all I'm focusing on, and there is a nice six-month break before we play Test match cricket again.

"Lots of things can happen before then and I don't want to commit myself too much to everything before then."

When De Villiers, as marketable a global star as the game possesses, speaks, the International Cricket Council would be advised to listen.

The 31-year-old does not have a ready-made blueprint for reorganising the schedules but believes such a shift is necessary.

"There have been plenty of surveys in the last few years and I have seen some changes in the past, but there are still one or two that need to get attention from the ICC," he said.

"One of those is the schedules for the more senior guys to make sure they keep their focus in the right places.

"I don't know what the answers are. I can't make that statement. All I know is there are quite a few guys feeling we are playing a bit too much cricket and just need to get the focus right.

"My focus is on international cricket. I want to play for as long as possible.

"I would just like to sit down, take some time away from the game, discuss these things and make the right call."

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