AB de Villiers declares himself fit for the longest format

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South Africa take on Zimbabwe in the first ever four-day, day/night Test match in Port Elizabeth on Boxing Day, and there are a couple of hard selection conundrums for the hosts heading into the clash.

De Villiers has not played a Test since January 2016 against England at the Wanderers due to injury and a self-imposed sabbatical.

"I received the white clothing on yesterday again, with the new pullover, and felt it like my first game again". Looking forward to what Zimbabwe has got to offer.

"I pride myself on the fact that I can adapt to certain conditions, certain formats", he said.

De Villiers told reporters in Port Elizabeth he had been practising against a red ball at the University of Pretoria since the end of July, "getting some technical stuff sorted out".

Elaborating on his preparations against the pink ball and the challenges that come with it, de Villiers said: "I faced a few pink balls last night on a spicy wicket, it was slightly tough". It was really tough. "Then again it's a great challenge, it's the ultimate form of the game, it's the greatest challenge to come out on top when the ball is moving around a bit", he added further. I think we all have that one friend in life that runs the Comrades (Ultra Marathon) up until he is 60. He rightly cited that winning against big teams in the next few months could see them emerge as the number one side in the world. "We will respect that and find a way to get on top still".

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De Villiers was ruled out of the practice match that Zimbabwe played against a South African Invitation XI before the Test as a result of continued stiffness in his lower back.

It will certainly be a huge step up in intensity with the newly-married Virat Kohli leading a team that are hell-bent on creating history. His last Test for South Africa came almost two years back in January 2016, having missed matches due to injuries as well as a sabbatical from the longest format.

"They've played a lot better in our conditions over the last few series we've played here compared to the 90s. I think they are a team that is young and determined", De Villiers said. "Whether we are playing ODIs or tests, it is the gaps between fixtures that is the biggest challenge for us".

On Kohli, he commented, "We know all about Virat Kohli, how determined he is as a captain". "The main thing is instilling belief within the players. and also playing to win, not to just compete and try not to embarrass ourselves". We are well aware of that and we'll prepare accordingly.

Masakadza feels they are now in a good space as a side after they beat Sri Lanka away in an one-day global series and came close to winning the one-off Test, while they drew there last Test at home against the West Indies even though they lost the series 1-0.

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