Cricket South Africa – selecting AB would not have been fair

Cricket South Africa – selecting AB would not have been fair

Cricket South Africa's convenor of selections Linda Zondi has explained that selecting AB de Villiers for the 2019 World Cup would not have been fair on the rest of the squad.

AB de Villiers

Various news outlets broke the news that De Villiers' had expressed his interest to come out of retirement and be selected for the Proteas squad on the eve of the World Cup.

De Villiers had reportedly spoken to coach Ottis Gibson and captain Faf du Plessis before the Proteas World Cup squad was announced.

Cricket South Africa National Selection Panel convenor Linda Zondi addressed the recent media statements in a press release on Thursday.

Zondi claims that he had urged De Villiers not to retire, but reduce his load in an effort to stay fit and fresh for the global showpiece in England and Wales: 

“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. 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.

“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. 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.”  

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