South Africa had a dismal show in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019 where they managed to win only 3 games. Along with this poor show, former South Africa captain AB de Villiers‘ selection controversy was the other thing which took the limelight away from the game. Finally, the former player broke his silence over this controversy on Friday.
It was said that Ab de Villiers wanted to return in the international cricket and desired to take part in the ICC World Cup just before their squad announcement. The conversation between de Villiers, skipper Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson got leaked to the media after South Africa’s defeat to India in the World Cup.
AB de Villiers announced his retirement from international cricket in May 2018. At that time, he was asked by a person privately within the Cricket South Africa (CSA) if he wants to play the World Cup. Then he said yes but shared that he did not ask for late inclusion when he talked to Faf du Plessis.
However, AB de Villiers took to social media and cleared the air.
“First, I announced my retirement from international cricket in May 2018 because I wanted to reduce my workload and spend more time with my wife and young sons. Some have insisted I was motivated purely by money. They are wrong. In truth, I have turned down many lucrative offers to play around the world, and have cut the time spent away from home each year from eight months to just over three months,” AB de Villiers wrote in the statement.
“During the weeks and months that followed, there was no formal contact between Cricket South Africa or the Proteas and me. I didn’t call them, and they didn’t call me. I had made my decision and the Proteas moved on, enjoying success under the expert guidance of coach Ottis Gibson and the outstanding captaincy of Faf du Plessis,” he added.
“Faf and I have been friends since we were at school together and, two days before the World Cup squad was announced, I contacted him for a chat. I had been in decent form during the Indian Premier League and casually repeated what I had said when asked a year earlier, that I was available if required… but only if required,” he again shared.
“I made absolutely no demands at all. I certainly did not try to force my way into the World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament, and did not expect to be included. There was no burning issue from my side, and no sense of injustice,” the statement further read.
“Personally I suspect there are a lot of people wanting AB to be here (more) than AB himself,” Gibson had earlier said. “If he wanted to be here he would be here.”
However, AB de Villiers expressed that he did not want to react immediately after the news came in the limelight was because he did not want to his team got suffered by any destruction in between the World Cup campaign. But now he was making one because he has been facing the criticism as well.
“I continue to be asked to comment on the disclosure, and distortion, of a private conversation that took place just before the squad was announced and, for the benefit of anyone who may have felt let down, would like to explain what happened,” de Villiers added in the statement.
“Then, out of the blue, on the evening after the Proteas lost to India, suffering a third successive World Cup defeat, elements of our private conversation were disclosed to the media, and distorted to cast me in the worst possible light,” he shared. “The story was not leaked by me, or anybody associated with me, or by Faf. Maybe someone wanted to deflect criticism. I don’t know.”
“As a result, I was unfairly described as arrogant, selfish and indecisive but, with all humility, my conscience is clear. I retired for honest reasons and, when asked if I could be available for the World Cup, agreed to keep the door open. In the event, understandably, the team moved on. No problem. I am not angry with anybody,” AB de Villiers wrote.
However, he said he would always support his side.
“Now, at this stage of my life, I would like to continue spending time with my family and to play in selected T20 tournaments in SA and around the world,” the statement read. “I have been massively proud to have played for, and indeed captain, my country on the cricket field. My relationships with the Protea players remain as strong as ever, and I will always be available to support and assist the next generation.”
“Lastly, in stating my side of this unpleasant and unnecessary saga, I want to stress my continuing support for the team and the game that has shaped my life and provided me with so many lasting friendships and incredible opportunities,” he concluded.