Rumours are circling that AB de Villiers could announce his retirement from Test match cricket. The 31-year-old has played in over 100 Test matches and nearly 200 One Day Internationals.
However, it is South Africa's very busy international schedule, coupled with IPL commitments that are the catalysts behind his retirement rumours.
Rest could be exactly what he needs
De Villiers did address the rumours in an interview conducted before day three of the first Test against England at Durban.
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"There are a lot of rumours flying around I hear, but for the last two to three years the only talk I've been doing is to keep myself fresh and to have a bit of rest here and there.
"It's always been the most important thing for me to enjoy my cricket. It's just important to look at the schedule moving forward, that's the talk in the camp and for me maybe not to play all kinds of cricket.
"If I play all the IPL games the whole season, I do get a bit tired towards the end of the season. That's the only thing that I've been talking about in the last while.
"To keep myself fresh and to keep enjoying the game. I love representing my country and nothing has changed."
Potential agreement in the making
While nothing is really clear from his comments, it seems the implication is that he wants a rest from all forms of cricket. Perhaps he feels his retirement from Test matches would be the best way to ensure he gets the breather he needs.
However, as shown in the current Test series against England, South Africa's batting lineup is not what it once was. De Villiers is one of the few positives and the South African Cricket Association do not want to lose one of their most crucial players.
Therefore, it would perhaps be beneficial to both parties if they were to come to an agreement which would see De Villiers rested for certain tours and perhaps allow him to give up the wicket keeper gloves.
South Africa don't want to lose him
Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa's team manager, commented on the situation and indicates that an agreement may be arrived at in the near future.
"AB is in constant contact with Russell [Domingo] and selectors to find opportunities to give him a break. He is still very much committed to playing for his country, it's to look at the schedule for 12 months and see where we can give him time off.
"That discussion will take place when new contracts are announced in May. Until the end of the season, he is committed to playing all forms. It's all about getting the perfect balance. And getting the time to take time off."
It seems as though retiring completely from Test match cricket may not be the option De Villiers chooses with this potential agreement to allow him the odd series off.
This would also allow South Africa to try other options to ensure that they have enough depth in their batting lineup in case of injuries or loss of form.
However, with no out and out denial from the player himself, the question still remains. Will De Villiers retire from international cricket?
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