December 24, 2017 / 8:25 AM / 7 months ago

Cricket: South Africa's de Villiers eyes successful test return

PORT ELIZABETH (Reuters) - South Africa talisman AB de Villiers has declared himself fit for the challenge of day-night test ahead of the one-off match against Zimbabwe at St George’s Park from Tuesday.

Britain Cricket - South Africa Nets - Ageas Bowl - June 20, 2017 South Africa's AB de Villiers during nets Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic/Files

It will be the first test appearance in almost two years for the 33-year-old, who had taken time off from the longer version of game while continuing to dominate bowlers in limited overs.

“I pride myself in the fact that I can adapt to certain conditions and formats,” he told reporters as the Proteas prepare for the first ever-four day match, also the first test to be played under lights in South Africa.

“I have worked hard on my game over the last six months. I started in July facing red balls at the University of Pretoria, getting some technical stuff sorted out, I feel more ready than ever to take it on.

“I faced a few pink balls here last night on a spicy wicket, it was really tough. Then again it’s a great challenge, it’s the ultimate form of the game, it’s the greatest challenge to come out on top when the ball is moving around a bit.”

De Villiers did not see much difference between the formats.

“It’s a mindset, a little tweak here and there. You have to have more patience with the red ball but you still have to play cricket strokes, it’s not like you are playing rugby, it is still cricket.

“As long as you respect the conditions, sum up what is going on in a match situation, you can make it work.”

He allayed fears about the stiff lower back that kept him out of the three-day warm-up match against Zimbabwe in Paarl and was looking forward to a fruitful outing.

“I want to contribute. I want to play knocks, have my say in the field with my experience and take some catches that can win games of cricket,” he said.

South Africa will host India to three tests in January before their four-test series against Australia in March and April.

“We would like to be number one in the world, we are not far away. We know if we win a few series in the next three months against tough opposition we can achieve that,” de Villiers said.

“We will take it one step at a time, that will be nice to achieve, to be the number one team in the world and to maintain it for a few years.”

Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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