De Villiers denies reports on retirement

England have recovered from their disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign and are one of the favourites for next month's Champions trophy, South Africa captain AB de Villiers said ahead of the teams' three-match one-day worldwide series.

"I remember thinking in 2015 they had hit rock bottom", said de Villiers.

South Africa struggle to pay their players as well as the likes of England and Australia which makes it harder for them to question the likes of De Villiers in the later stages of his career putting the riches of the IPL ahead of his country.

He said the wives and partners of the players would be with them on tour for the first two weeks during the three-match series against England before the Champions Trophy and would return home to allow them to focus on the tournament.

An elbow injury ruled him out of the Proteas' Test tour of Australia late a year ago and while de Villiers returned to limited-overs global cricket in February, he ruled himself out of the March Test series in New Zealand, an absence he has since extended to South Africa's four-Test tour of England in July-August as well as two Tests against Bangladesh. 'We will see where we go.

Stokes, who played for the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), enjoyed a successful maiden season of the IPL - making 316 runs, taking 12 wickets and grabbing 5 catches. 'I believe we have a very strong squad and I've got a very good feeling about this one'.

"I'm feeling fresh, feeling 100%, and looking forward to playing this series and then the tournament", he added.

"I think it is a good move not to have family during the tournament".

De Villiers suffered an elbow injury during the tri-nation series in West Indies and subsequently missed the home Test series against New Zealand, the tour of Australia and the home Tests against Sri Lanka - before making a comeback in the 50-over matches against Sri Lanka, early this year.

The twin legspinners, England's Adil Rashid and South Africa's Imran Tahir, are also worth a look at 16/1 and 14/1 respectively. De Villiers earned around 1.5 million Euros this year playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

Dale Steyn is out of the whole tour with a shoulder injury while South Africa have lost significant players like Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw, Simon Harmer and Colin Ingram to county cricket as Kolpak non-overseas players. But I'm not going to change my decision. He definitely has got something special about him.

AB De Villiers said that he is "pretty desperate" to win the ICC Champions Trophy. Ben Stokes definitely lifted his game and I think it would have done him the world of good.

  • Joanne Flowers