World Cup 2019: No regrets, says CSA on rejecting AB de Villiers' comeback offer

Updated: Jun 07, 2019, 09:34 IST | mid-day online desk

SA selection panel convenor Zondi insists decision to reject ABD's request to play in World Cup was based on principles

World Cup 2019: No regrets, says CSA on rejecting AB de Villiers' comeback offer
Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers wanted to come out of retirement for the World Cup but Cricket South Africa (CSA) refused to accept the offer as the batting great had ignored pleas to not retire last year.

According to ESPNCricinfo, de Villiers made the offer to return in May, barely 24 hours before the final squad for the ongoing showpiece in the UK was to be announced by CSA. The revelation came amid a disastrous start to South Africa's World Cup campaign, which has seen them lose three matches including one to Bangladesh. While Wednesday's six-wicket defeat to India turned the situation from bad to worse.

CSA selection panel convenor Linda Zondi confirmed that de Villiers did make the offer and that skipper Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson were keen to have him back. However, de Villiers' omission was based on principles, Zondi said.

Linda Zondi
Linda Zondi

'ABD, one of the best'
"AB de Villiers 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 said in the CSA release. "I pleaded with AB 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," Zondi added.

"He turned down the offer and said he was at peace with his decision to retire," he recalled. "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 us. AB left a big vacuum when he retired, we had a year to find players at franchise level to fill the gap," he added.

De Villiers backs team
Amid the revelations, de Villiers expressed his support for the beleaguered team. "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 tweeted.

Zondi said that de Villiers dropped no hints of wanting to come back. "We had players who put in the hard work and deserved to be given the opportunity to go to the World Cup. At no point in the year that he had retired did he make himself available for selection. When I received the news on the day of the squad announcement, our squad was finalised and confirmed," he said.

This is how Twitter reacted to the story:

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