South Africa rejected De Villiers’ offer to come out of retirement and play at the World Cup

Cricket South Africa rejected AB de Villiers' offer to come out of retirement and play for South Africa at the World Cup cricket

Linda Zondi on AB de Villiers: “AB is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world, but above all else, we have to stay true to our morals and principles, there is no regret in the decision”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Cricket South Africa turned down batsman AB de Villiers’ offer to come out of retirement and represent the Proteas at the World Cup.

De Villiers shocked the cricketing world when he retired from international cricket in May 2018.

However, he told captain Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson that he would be willing to come out of retirement to play in the World Cup if they needed his services.

But, the problem was that the selectors only found out about this right before they named South Africa’s World Cup squad.

South Africa’s convener of selectors Linda Zondi said that they had to reject De Villiers’ offer as it wouldn’t have been fair on the players who had been working hard to get into the country’s World Cup team.

“For Faf du Plessis and Ottis Gibson to share AB’s desire to be included in the squad on the day we announced our World Cup squad on April 18th was a shock to all of us,” Zondi was quoted as saying by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) website.

“AB left a big vacuum when he retired, we had a year to find players at franchise level to fill the gap. We had players who put in the hard work, who put up their hands and deserved to be given the opportunity to go to the World Cup. The decision was based on principle; we had to be fair to the team, the selection panel, our franchise system and players.

“At no point in the year that he had retired did he make himself available for selection. It was no option when I received the news on the day of the squad announcement, our squad was finalised and confirmed.

“AB is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world, but above all else, we have to stay true to our morals and principles, there is no regret in the decision.”

Zondi revealed that he “pleaded” with De Villiers to reconsider his decision when he retired last year.

“I pleaded with AB de Villiers not to retire in 2018. Although there was a perception that he was picking and choosing when to play – which was not true – I did give him the option to plan and monitor his season to get him to the World Cup fresh and in a good space,” he said.

“We made it clear that he would have to play during the home tours against Sri Lanka and Pakistan to be considered for selection, instead he signed to play in the Pakistan and Bangladesh Premier Leagues respectively. He turned down the offer and said he was at peace with his decision to retire.”

While De Villiers has neither confirmed nor denied this, he took to Twitter to say: “All that’s important is that we should all focus on supporting the team at the World Cup. There is a long way to go and I believe the boys can still go all the way.”

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