Melbourne: Former Australian skipper Michael Hussey believes South African ODI skipper AB de Villiers is ‘desperate’ to win a big trophy for his country, saying he is “highly motivated, personally and for the team” ahead of next month's Champions Trophy.
Although de Villiers hasn't quit Test cricket so far, he has more than once expressed his desire to focus on 50-over cricket, with the glory of 2019 World Cup is something which is driving him in his cricket career.
Hussey, who revealed he met de Villiers while commentating during the ongoing tenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), said that the South African skipper is extremely motivated to guide his side to silverware at the moment, something which can prove to be pretty dangerous for the opposition.
“I caught up with him while I was in India (commentating the IPL) and he's desperate to win a tournament with South Africa in one-day cricket. He thinks they can win a World Cup, so this is like a mini-World Cup and it's what's driving him in his cricket career at the moment,” Hussey told cricket.com.au.
“When you've got such a quality player that's highly motivated, personally and for the team, then that's a pretty dangerous combination for the opposition,” he added.
The 33-year-old made his first-class and List A debuts in 2003, five years after South Africa won the ICC tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1998, when it was known as the ICC Knock-Out.
That remains South Africa's only silverware at a major multi-nation event, with heart-breaking losses - including three World Cup semifinal defeats and a crushing rain-affected tie on home soil in 2003 -is something motivating de Villiers to break his nation's reputation as ‘chokers’ by winning South Africa's first piece international career comes to an end.
Last August, de Villiers took time off to get a number of injuries treated, and then suffered an elbow injury that ruled him out of the home Test series win against New Zealand the Test tour of South Africa.
While he returned to limited-overs cricket for South Africa in February, he opted out of the Test series in New Zealand in March - an absence he has since extended to the four-Test tour of England in July-August and the succeeding two Tests against Bangladesh.
And Hussey believes that he would be "surprised" if de Villiers plays Test cricket again due to the toll the longest-format of the game takes on your body.
“If I'm being honest I'd be surprised if he keeps playing (Tests) due to the toll Test cricket takes on your body. Body-wise he has back problems plus he's had this elbow injury that kept him out for a long time. I think he'll really try and focus on the shorter formats of the game,” Hussey said.
De Villiers is currently the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world. He also owns the fastest one-day century (31 balls against the West Indies in 2015) and has reached 9,000 runs in fewer innings than any other batsman in the game.