File photo of AB de Villiers (Courtesy: Twitter/@ABdeVilliers17)
Former star South African cricketer AB de Villiers on Friday said that all that was important was to support the Proteas at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, apparently reacting to the row over team management’s decision to reject his offer to come out of retirement to play for the team in the tournament.
“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,” de Villiers wrote on Twitter.
The reaction from AB de Villiers came a days after South African convenor of selectors Linda Zondi revealed that he had made a last minute comeback offer but it was rejected by the team management on moral grounds.
AB de Villiers, who retired from International cricket in May last year, had approached South African skipper Faf du Plesis, head coach Ottis Gibson and Zondi 24 hours before the announcement of squad for 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," Zondi said. Zondi further added that he had requested AB de Villiers not to retire in 2018 and gave him the option to choose his own matches but he turned down the offer then.
Zondi said he didn’t have any option to consider AB de Villiers’ offer as the squad had been finalised and confirmed and selecting him in the team would have been injustice to the other players who performed well in his absence.
“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," he said.
In the absence of AB de Villiers, the South African team had a disastrous start to the tournament and lost first three of their matches, including the one against underdog Bangladesh. Already in shambles, the team suffered another blow after their pace attack spearhead Dale Steyn ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury.