AB de Villiers, who announced his retirement from international cricket in May this year, said he’s delighted to be part of South Africa’s new Twenty20 tournament – Mzansi Super League (MSL). The veteran will be part of the Tshwane Spartans set-up with the tournament starting on November 16.
“I grew up here, I love playing cricket here, and this is where it all started for me. I could not have asked for a better base to play my cricket at,” he said at the official launch of the Tshwane Spartans franchise at the SuperSport Park on Friday (October 26). “I haven’t played cricket for a while, but I am getting back into the swing of things. I have had these kinds of breaks before and it is always a challenge to get fit and hit balls again. I am really looking forward to that, and what will be a really good challenge in the Mzansi Super League.”
De Villiers, who is the marquee player for the franchise, felt the tournament has the potential to lift cricket in South Africa. “It is a huge step in the right direction for Cricket South Africa and South African cricket. As a unit, we’ll be looking to not just pull this tournament off, but make it a great spectacle for fans around the world to enjoy.
“It is difficult to say (how successful MSL would be) but the potential is huge. This tournament will give us a feel of what to expect and where it is going to go, but it will get better every single year. In the beginning, the IPL was a bit slow because people did not know where it was going to go, but look at it now.”
De Villiers also rubbished the rumours of his comeback into the South African national side, “No, there is no comeback. I made the mistake of saying ‘never say never’, which is a philosophy that I have always followed in my life. I was actually trying to say that I am focusing on the now, but it came out horribly wrong and the next minute there were headlines around the world,” he stressed.
“I certainly do not want to confuse anyone around the world, especially the Proteas team. It will be very selfish and arrogant of me to throw statements around that I want to play at the World Cup. I am happy where I am and focusing on the now and I will never say ‘never say never’ again. My focus at the moment is to play good cricket in the Mzansi Super League for the Tshwane Spartans. I have been working hard to be fit.”
De Villiers acknowledged he’s looking forward to playing with England’s limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan. “I am very happy because he [Morgan] is a great leader and he has been in fantastic form. He is a match-winner and I think we got lucky with him. I don’t know how he ended up in our team because I thought he was going to be picked up earlier. I am very happy to have him in our team.”