Faf du Plessis has joined the chorus calling for AB de Villiers' mooted return to the international arena at the T20 World Cup. In fact, South Africa's captain said on Wednesday, he had long been a supporter of the resumption of one of the most storied careers in cricket history - which was abruptly ended when de Villiers quit in May 2018.
Now, with de Villiers saying this week he would "love" to play for South Africa again and that he had been in discussions with senior figures in and around the team to facilitate that happening, his shock retirement seems set to become merely an interruption.
Du Plessis added to that narrative when he said, "We spoke about it, and I was very keen to have him back. That was even before the new coaching staff was on board."
The conversation had progressed as far as the details of "what does the next year look like in terms of T20 cricket - how many games; where, when, what? And then trying to unfold that in a way that we can get him back. He's keen to come do that."
When de Villiers might return had yet to be decided, but he would have to appear in at least some of the 11 T20s South Africa will play against England and Australia in February and against West Indies in August before the World Cup in Australia in October and November. But he might miss the England series, which starts four days after the Big Bash League, where he is playing for the Brisbane Heat.
"In an ideal world we would like to try and make sure that we can play our best 11, 12, 13 players for a few games or series together leading up to the T20 World Cup," Du Plessis said, and explained his thinking. "A learning curve for me with the 50-over World Cup last year was that we never had the combinations we were looking for. As a new coach Ottis Gibson didn't know a lot of the players. There was a search for a lot of players and finding combinations. If I could do that over again, I would try and settle into the combinations a little earlier so the guys can play as many games as possible together."
Gibson was out of a job in the wake of South Africa losing five of their eight completed matches at the one-day World Cup, where reports surfaced of de Villiers' rebuffed offer to come back for that tournament. Then Enoch Nkwe presided over a 3-0 Test series defeat in India in an interim capacity. That prompted the appointment of Mark Boucher as coach, and Jacques Kallis and Charl Langeveldt as his batting and bowling consultants.