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ICC World Cup 2019 | Accepting de Villiers Back Last Minute Would Have Been Against Principles: CSA

Cricketnext Staff |June 7, 2019, 8:51 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Accepting de Villiers Back Last Minute Would Have Been Against Principles: CSA

While confirming that AB de Villiers did indeed make himself available for selection just 24 hours before the World Cup squad was to be named, Cricket South Africa (CSA) have said that they chose not to accept his proposal based on “principle”. In a statement issued after ESPNcricinfo reported on Thursday (June 6) that de Villiers spoke to captain Faf du Plessis, coach Ottis Gibson and convenor of selectors Linda Zondi ahead of the announcement of the 15-man squad for the tournament, CSA said that such a move would not have been fair to “the team, the selection panel, our franchise system and players.”

De Villiers announced his sudden international retirement in May 2018 and Zondi revealed that he had “pleaded” with the 35-year old not to do so.

“I pleaded with AB de Villiers not to retire in 2018,” Zondi was quoted as saying. “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.”

The revelation was made after South Africa lost to India by six wickets on Wednesday - their third straight defeat in the ICC World Cup. South Africa have looked a below-par side with the likes of Dale Steyn (ruled out of full tournament), Lungi Ngidi and Hashim Amla missing a few games. The Du Plessis-led side will have to win all of their games to remain in the contention to reach the semifinal.

Their next match is against West Indies on June 10 in Southampton and in a cryptic comment on his Twitter page, de Villiers chose not to add fuel to the fire saying, “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.”

In more detailed comments in an episode for Youtube channel Breakfast with Champions recently, de Villiers had dwelled on his decision to quit.

"I was keen to play in the World Cup, but I left, I retired,” he said. “So it was a very sensitive situation. For the last three years of my career, I was labelled as a guy who is picking and choosing when I was playing and when not. So I got quite a lot of criticism from back home, which also played a role in me retiring. And it was difficult for me to then go 'hey, but I'll still play the World Cup'. It's that picking and choosing thing again, and it's quite arrogant to do something like that. But as they say, you can't have your bread buttered on both sides.

"I felt cornered. It's always been about the team, it's never been about myself. But I found myself in a position where I had to make a decision where it's going to look like I'm just thinking about myself."

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7 6 1 0 12 +0.90
6 5 0 1 11 +1.30
5 4 0 1 9 +0.80
7 4 3 0 8 +1.05
7 3 3 1 7 -0.13
6 2 2 2 6 -1.11
6 2 3 1 5 -1.26
6 1 4 1 3 +0.19
7 1 5 1 3 -0.32
7 0 7 0 0 -1.63

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4674 111
5 Australia 4805 109
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
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