The Lahore Qalandars will have to do what they can with what they have, as AB de Villiers requested and was granted a release by the Pakistan Super League club.
The South African cricketer will turn 36 years of age shortly after the beginning of 2020 and he has decided that it is time to slow down and save himself for other cricket codes.
De Villiers has been absent from representative cricket since September, when he was with Middlesex in England’s Vitality Blast T20 tournament.
It does appear that he will show up to play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League before making his way to the Indian Premier League as a member of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
De Villiers is planning on limiting himself in the BBL and only play for the heat during the second half of the tournament after Christmas.
When queried about his decision, de Villiers responded, “Just managing workload. On-off as much as possible.”
AB played for the Qalanders last season, contracted for seven games, but he played just five of the seven due to an ailing back.
The Pakistan Cricket Board has been doing what it can to attract marquee players, but de Villiers’ presence did not prevent the Qalanders from finishing on the bottom, despite de Villiers 218 runs at 54.50.
Qalanders have often went after star players, but to say, ‘with mixed success’ would be borderline understatement.
Chris Gayle did not pan out, nor did Yasir Shah. Gayle was on a run of poor form when he was there in 2016 and Shah was banned for testing positive for a banned substance.
It could be that ‘managing workload’ is cricketer code for not being paid enough, but de Villiers is not the first to wake up one morning and discover more cricket behind than ahead of him, so he is making a choice that could see him squeeze another five years of cricket onto his resume.
Beyond that, his body of work suggests that if he chooses to remain involved with the game, he can have his choice of plum assignments.