De Villiers rejects retirement rumours, but won't play New Zealand Tests

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AB de Villiers has ruled himself out of South Africa's Test series in New Zealand in March but is adamant retirement is not imminent in any format of the game.

Speculation has been swirling over the future of De Villiers after coach Russell Domingo called on the 32-year-old, who has been out of the team with an elbow injury, to make a decision on his future.

Despite stepping aside for Faf du Plessis to take over as Test captain last month, De Villiers remains a star player and mainstay of the Proteas side.

Speaking in separate media opportunities early this week, he insisted there is plenty more cricket left in him, with the 2019 World Cup a priority.

"I'm not there yet," De Villiers, appearing at the Wanderers on Tuesday to promote a charitable cause, said of his readiness for the long-form contests away to the Black Caps.

"I need a bit of time just to settle things in my head.

"I've made myself unavailable for the Tests in New Zealand.

"For me the goal is the 2019 World Cup - I want to lift that trophy."

In a separate interview with radio station 702, he said: "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.

"My main aim is to get to that 2019 World Cup and I am going to do everything possible to get there.

"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 [not want to miss a game], 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."