Cape Town - Star Proteas batsman AB de Villiers insists he has no intention of retiring from Test cricket, but has made himself unavailable for the three-Test series against New Zealand in March.
Reports at the weekend indicated that De Villiers’ future in the longer format of the game was uncertain, and he responded to the speculation on Tuesday.
"I'm not retiring out of Test cricket, I'm not retiring out of any format, that's for sure. I am not prepared to do that," he told the 702 radio station.
The 32-year-old however highlighted that the 2019 Cricket World Cup (in England) was his main priority and emphasised the need to manage his workload.
“I am going to do everything possible to get there (2019 World Cup). It's important to play the other formats, but mentally and physically I need to be in a good space come the 2019 World Cup and that's what I am aiming for. I know it’s still a long way away and it's all about managing that really well in order for me to get there.
“I am going to have to make certain choices. It's not easy for me. I have always been the go-ahead guy, the team man, never want to miss a game for South Africa and I still do, but the schedules these days, it's really tough to play all formats, especially at the age of 32, when most cricketers don't go past the age of 35. If you do the math, it takes to me to 2019, 2020 at the most. Hopefully by then I will still be fit and be there to lift the trophy with the boys."
He has subsequently pulled out of the New Zealand Test series, a Cricket South Africa spokesperson confirmed to Sport24 on Tuesday.
De Villiers has not played red ball cricket for South Africa since last January’s home series against England.
An elbow injury then hampered his year and he has been out of action in all formats since July.
He is now set to make his return to the international stage in the third T20I against Sri Lanka in Cape Town this month.
Before that he will play an amateur one-day game for Northerns in Benoni.