Former cricketer AB de Villiers
Former cricketer AB de Villiers

De Villiers' return would have been unfair, says CSA selection panel convenor

ANI | Updated: Jun 06, 2019 19:42 IST

Johannesburg [South Africa], June 6 (ANI): South Africa's national selection panel Convenor Linda Zondi on Thursday said that AB de Villiers' desire of returning to the team was overlooked as it would have been unfair to young talents.
In a surprise move on May 23 last year, swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman de Villiers bid adieu to all forms of international cricket with immediate effect, putting an end to his 14-year-long illustrious career.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson had revealed de Villiers' wish to play at the World Cup. However, the management refused to consider it as the 15-man squad was already finalised.
"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 said in a statement.
"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," he added.
Zondi also said that de Villiers did not make himself available for selection after his shocking retirement.
"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 said.
The selection panel convenor said that he requested de Villiers not to retire and be available for home series. Zondi further highlighted that the former cricketer went onto play in Pakistan and Bangladesh T20 leagues.
"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," Zondi said.
South Africa faced three consecutive defeats in their ongoing World Cup campaign. The Proteas will next meet West Indies on June 10 at Hampshire Bowl in Southampton. (ANI)