De Villiers should be playing Test cricket - Du Plessis

Updated: 

South Africa are missing the explosive batting displays of AB de Villiers in the Test arena, according to Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis.

De Villiers has not featured in the longest form of the game since January 2016, his latest absence due to a troublesome elbow injury.

The 33-year-old ruled himself out of the Proteas' recent series with New Zealand and the upcoming matches with England and Bangladesh, De Villiers opting to focus on limited overs cricket.

It is a decision Du Plessis - who took over the captaincy from De Villiers - does not agree with, but he acknowledges multiple factors influenced him.

"I can't sit and say he [De Villiers] should be playing Test cricket because the guy has been doing it for 12 years and 106 Test matches," Du Plessis told the South African edition of GQ magazine.

"It translates to so much time away from home and people have to understand that there is a human side of the decision to consider.

"However, from a cricket point of view, I would obviously be the first to say that AB needs to play Tests for South Africa because he is one of the best batsmen in the world.

"For him it's about spending more time at home and getting to the 2019 World Cup.

"He wants to ensure he remains mentally fresh and his body is still going strong.

"I fully respect AB's decision but I don't agree with it."

Meanwhile, Du Plessis hinted he will call time on his international career after the World Cup in England in two years.

He added: "I'm in a different boat [to De Villiers]. I see myself heading towards the 2019 World Cup playing all formats of the game and then calling time on my career."