No Regrets, Turning Down FROM De Villiers's Return, Offer, Said CSA President Selection > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - No regret in turning down AB de Villiers's comeback offer, says CSA selection convenor

"The decision was based on principle; we had to be fair to the team, the selection panel, our franchise system and players."

AB de Villiers's late proposal to come out of retirement and feature in South Africa's squad for the 2019 World Cup, reported by ESPNCricinfo, wasn't favoured by the selection panel as it would have been unfair on the players who put in the hard work in the build-up for the 50-over event, Cricket South Africa clarified in an official statement on Thursday (June 6).

Amidst calls for de Villiers's inclusion in the South Africa's World Cup squad after their string of losses at the start of the competition, Linda Zondi, the CSA National Selection Panel convenor, revealed that they had urged de Villiers against retirement way back in 2018 and that he was even given an option to 'plan and monitor his season' in order to be in best shape for the main event.

However, Zondi added that de Villiers wasn't keen on getting back to the team with him having to play the home series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan to be considered for World Cup selection. Instead, he chose to sign for T20 leagues of Pakistan and Bangladesh, insisting that he was 'at peace with his decision to retire'.

"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 was quoted as saying in a CSA media release.

Skipper Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson had placed the offer from de Villiers to the selectors just before the squad was picked on April 18. That came as a shock to the selectors, said Zondi, who mentioned that bringing back de Villiers at the last moment would have set a wrong example.

"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," Zondi added.

South Africa have had a terrible start to their 2019 World Cup campaign, having registered losses against England, Bangladesh and India in their first three matches. Injuries to key players had a telling impact on the team's performances.

Dale Steyn was ruled out of the tournament due to a shoulder injury while Ngidi's hamstring issue, which needed a recovery time of seven to ten days, left the pace department short-staffed. Hashim Amla too was forced to miss a game after being struck on his head by a bouncer from Jofra Archer in the opening match.

Meanwhile, de Villiers urged his followers to back the team in the troubled times, tweeting: "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."

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