Legendary South African batsman AB de Villiers made an effort to be included in his country’s squad for the World Cup 2019, but was turned down by the team management.
According to a report by ESPNcricinfo, de Villiers made the offer in April, 24 hours before selectors announced their final 15-man World Cup squad.
The management thought a recall would be unfair to the South African squad that had been together for the past year since 35-year-old de Villiers announced his retirement from international cricket in May 2018.
The report said de Villiers approached South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, head coach Ottis Gibson and convener of selectors Linda Zondi, telling them he was willing to reverse his retirement decision. However, he was told that this would not be possible.
The ESPNcricinfo report, quoting people privy to the talks, said de Villiers’ request was “not even considered”. The report cited two main reasons behind the management’s decision to turn down de Villiers’ request.
First, the batsman had retied more than a year ago and thus did not fulfill selection criteria, which included participation in domestic cricket or international cricket.
Secondly, selectors felt recalling de Villiers would be unfair to new players who had recently been performing in his absence, such as Rassie van der Dussen.
Former Pakistan fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar has slammed AB de Villiers for his offer to come out of international retirement for the ongoing World Cup.
Criticizing former Proteas cricketer AB de Villiers for offering to come out of retirement for ICC World Cup 2019, former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has said ex-South African superstar ‘chose money over country’.
Akhtar shared a video of himself, in which he said Villiers ‘chose money over country’ and decided not to play World Cup, despite having left some two years of cricket left in him. “Firstly, people must not forget that there was pressure on AB De Villiers to leave IPL and PSL contracts and make himself available for the World Cup. However, he chose the IPL and PSL and announced an early retirement,” Akhtar said in the video message.
“So basically everything started with finance. I think when he took this decision, he did it looking at his finances and economics. The timing of this revelation raises serious questions (with South Africa performing poorly in the World Cup),” he added.
South Africa’s coach Ottis Gibson has stated that his side has moved on from AB de Villiers after it was revealed that the flamboyant batsman wanted to come out of retirement to play the World Cup but the cricket authorities rejected the idea.
Gibson said that AB de Villiers had wasted the time and it was too late for him to make a comeback.
“If he wanted to be here, he would be here. That’s how I see it,” Gibson said in Southampton.
The South African coach stated that his side has moved on and has won without AB de Villiers and the batsman lost the opportunity when it was available to him.
“Since he’s retired we’ve won every series that we’ve played, and I haven’t had many AB questions, wasn’t one AB question like that. Suddenly we’ve come to the World Cup and we’ve had one bad week, and AB is the saviour, but the guy is retired,” he said.
“He’s made his decision, and we as a team, and I guess you guys, as well, we have to live with the decision that he’s made and he has to live with the decision that he’s made. To come the day before and say that he’d come to come back would seem a little bit strange to say the least.”
Gibson also confirmed that it was made cleared to AB de Villiers that if he wanted to play the World Cup, he should have made himself available for the series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
“The door was left open up until December,” the coach said when asked if South Africa waited on AB to re-think over retirement.
“He knew, if he really wanted to, he knew that those 10 games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka were vitally important for us because from March to the World Cup we won’t have any more cricket,” he said.
“But again, he knew that, and he’s made his choice,” Gibson added.