Cape Town - There is no doubt that the Proteas could have done with a player of AB de Villiers' quality in their middle order during their 3-1 Test series loss to England.
The Proteas struggled with the bat all series, with collapse after collapse denting their chances of challenging for the Basil D'Oliveira trophy.
But, as has been well documented, De Villiers has made himself unavailable for Test cricket at the moment.
According to captain Faf du Plessis, that is a decision that De Villiers has earned the right to make.
"AB has earned the right to do whatever he wants to," Du Plessis said in Cape Town on Thursday.
"He's played 100 Test matches, 12 years of cricket away from home, he's done everything that there is to do in a South African shirt apart from winning a World Cup.
"He wants to spend more time at home ... if you're playing all three formats for South Africa you're spending seven, eight months a year away from home. That's obviously not the best family lifestyle.
"Test cricket is obviously the one that takes the longest and that's AB's only reason, nothing else."
It has been a touchy subject in South Africa cricket circles, with many suggesting that De Villiers should not be allowed to pick and choose when he plays Test cricket.
Those critics believe that De Villiers should either commit to the format, or retire from it, but Du Plessis is not losing any sleep over it and says he has moved on from the De Villiers drama.
"I've been in so many press conferences where people always ask the same question and, win or lose, they always want AB to play. That's fair, because he's probably the best player in the team," said Du Plessis.
"But we've played probably a year-and-a-half of Test cricket now where AB hasn't played.
"I hope he comes back and plays, but I've sort of moved on and made sure that we can find someone else to fill that role. That's why we're looking for someone else for that No 4 position."
Du Plessis, who is backing Temba Bavuma to be the solution at No 4, does not expect De Villiers to return to red ball cricket.
"It's just for me to try and get it out there that people must expect that it's possibly not going to happen," he said.
"We don't want to lie about it or anything. If AB is not coming back, he's not coming back, but we can't make that decision for AB.
"The last time I spoke to him he wasn't keen to play yet, so from my point of view I'm not expecting him to come back."