Will it be better second time around for AB De Villiers and Cricket South Africa?

Pamela Anderson, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Eminem, Rosemary Clooney, Elliot Gould, Paul Hogan, Sophia Loren, Elon Musk, Jean Claude Van Damme, Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood. All have married the same person twice. The first flush of romance faded, the irresistible allure was replaced by hair in the sink, toe nails in the bath, too much sport on the TV and too much time in the pub. Possibly with alternative company. Yet they all reignited the spark of passion and re – tied the matrimonial knot.

AB de Villiers like many before him, had his head turned by the brassy hussy that is global franchise cricket. Shameless, wild and way more exciting than his national team, who were offering the equivalent of dinner on the table at 7 and bed time with a mug of cocoa by 10pm. For AB, there was money to be made and global fans around the world to delight.

And how he has delighted them wherever he has played. He’s the IPL’s 6th highest ever run scorer, closing in on 5000 runs at a strike rate of 152.67. No one in the top 100 all-time IPL run scorers comes close to that. With poise, power, deftness and variety, he is a magnificent stroke maker. Age is far from withering him as we saw last Sunday as his explosive 76 from 34 balls lifted RCB to a match-winning 204. Experience seems to have added further guile and invention to that undoubted power.

But, at the age of 37, unlike Lucy Jordan, he has felt the cricketing equivalent of riding through Paris with the warm wind in his woven hair. And the lure of home comforts is starting to tug. Will the spurned CSA have him back though?

They teased and flirted ahead of the of the 2019 World Cup, but ultimately went their separate ways again. Now, once again, AB may about to appear on their doorstep armed with flowers and chocolates. He has said that he’s raring to don the national jersey almost three years after he announced his retirement from the highest level when he represented the Proteas in the Johannesburg Test against Australia back in March-April 2018. He will, he says, be having a chat with Mark Boucher, the South Africa head coach.

After battering the knight Riders with his man of the match performance, de Villiers stated “It will be fantastic to play for South Africa again, I will be speaking with Boucher towards the end of IPL. Last year, he asked me whether I am interested and I said ‘absolutely’.”

South African cricket of course, is going through radical change, trying to look to the future rather than the past. There may also be a few prodigal Kolpaks hoping that they are in a forgive and forget mood too. But, as someone who watched AB close up as he adorned Middlesex’s T20 Blast in 2019, I hope that like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, CSA and AB can re unite, if only briefly, and that they can be a glamour couple on the international world stage once more.