De Villiers says 2015 WC semifinal loss to Kiwis was `greatest disappointment`

| Updated: Sep 02, 2016 00:20 IST

Johannesburg [South Africa], Sept.1 (ANI): South Africa captain AB de Villiers has revealed that the 2015 World Cup semifinal defeat to New Zealand was the "greatest disappointment" of his cricket career. In his new book, AB: The Autobiography, the swashbuckling batsman has also opened up about the controversial selection issue that has haunted the South Africa ever since their semifinal loss against New Zealand in the 50-over World Cup in Auckland. Vernon Philander was chosen ahead of in-form Kyle Abott for the semifinal clash, soon after the former recovered from his injury, triggering speculation that the decision was made by the South Africa management in an attempt to reach transformation targets. This was later confirmed by Cricket South Africa. De Villiers opined that he had expected that the same team would play against New Zealand that had beaten Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals, but added that he was told the night before the semi-final that Philander would play. Contemplating the reasons behind the selectors' decision, de Villiers said he "sensed the selectors thought Vernon would thrive in New Zealand conditions", but added that there could have been "other considerations" in the selection of the playing XI, ESPNcricinfo reported. "We had been assured that Cricket South Africa was the only national sporting governing body in the country that had declined to set a target for the number of players of colour to be included in the national team, but there was a delicate balance to be struck and it was generally understood that, as they chose the side, the national selectors would be conscious of working towards providing opportunities for at least four players of colour," De Villiers said in his book. "So what had happened? Had Vernon, who was officially classified as coloured, been selected ahead of Kyle, who was classified as white, to ensure there were four players of colour in our team for the semifinal? Or had the decision been made for purely cricketing reasons? "It depressed me even to think of my teammates in these outdated racial terms, as white or coloured, but three players of colour had played in the quarterfinal, so could three players of colour play in the semifinal, or was that not the case?," he said. However, de Villiers insisted that his side didn't lose 'because of the decision to replace Kyle with Vernon', but due to their failure to take "five clear opportunities ... three possible run-outs and two catches". (ANI)