AB de Villiers    Getty Images
AB de Villiers Getty Images

Every cricket lover is anxiously waiting to watch AB de Villiers back in the whites since he last played a Test in January 2016. However, they would be equally interested to know that his back problem seems to be clung to him, like forever. De Villiers was recently withdrawn from the practice match against South Africa Invitation XI due to his persistent back problem. He took a few days off to holiday with his family. Although, de Villiers is up for selection for the historic four-day Test against Zimbabwe, his workload will be monitored.

Since de Villiers comeback after his resignation in December 2016 as Test captain, he has played just one First-Class game for Titans. Although de Villiers had an impressive outing against Bangladesh in limited-overs, he has not been exposed enough to Test cricket. However, the veteran is adequately prepared for the upcoming fixtures against India and Australia through constant net practice with the red ball.

Another cause of concern for de Villiers and co. is adjusting to the day-night conditions. De Villiers mentioned the time period between 19:30-20:00 PM is really tough. South Africa, however, seem to be at ease even in these conditions as they humbled Zimbabwe for 5 wickets in the warm-up game.

In a chat with ESPNcricinfo, de Villiers addressed his back concerns, the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe and series against India.

On his persistent back problem

It’s not really a big problem. It’s a little niggle, something I have had for the last eight or nine years and something I have to manage with my workload. I had a few intense games in the last few months and I started feeling it again towards the end of the Ram Slam finals. I was honest with the convener and a few guys and asked them for a few days off. The doctor also treated me and suggested I take a few days off. I needed a bit of rest and I feel fit and ready to go again.

I feel more ready than ever to take on red ball challenge

I started off end of July facing red balls at the University of Pretoria, getting some technical stuff sorted out and I feel more ready than ever to take it on. I have been working for the last six months to get ready for this. It’s always been my theory that there’s not a massive difference between the formats.

I want to play knocks and have my say in the field

I (still) want to contribute. I want to play knocks and have my say in the field, my experience, take some catches in order for us to win games of cricket. Obviously we’d like to be No.1 in the world, we are not far away. We know if we win a few series in the next two or three months against very tough opposition we can achieve that.

On India series

They’ve played a lot better over the last few series we’ve played here compared to the 90s. They are a team that’s young and determined. We know all about Virat Kohli, how determined he is as captain; he’ll definitely come here trying to win and to make history. It will be a great challenge.