AB de Villiers has landed himself in a soup after former national conevener of selectors, Linda Zondi, lashed out at his ambitious wish in 2019 to make a return to the South Africa side ahead of the ODI World Cup in England.
AB de Villiers, who had announced his decision to step away from international cricket in 2018 after the series against Australia, had expressed willingness to be picked in South Africa’s ODI World Cup squad weeks before the tournament began, according to reports that surfaced after South Africa’s exit from the tournament.
Faf du Plessis, de Villiers’ childhood mate and friend and also the Proteas captain at the time, is believed to have been the source of communication between the selectors and de Villiers. Faf’s request though was denied outright by Linda Zondi, then the convener of selectors. In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, he revealed his reasons for the same.
“When AB took a break [in 2017], he didn’t share the information with me,” Zondi said according to ESPNCricinfo. “I contacted him and said I wasn’t happy with what you have done and he apologised. Then there was the World Cup, which was a massive story. The captain [Faf du Plessis] came to me and said AB would like to be included in the World Cup.
“I turned it down because AB had earlier come to me and said he wanted to retire and I told him [then] we need you in the World Cup in England. If there are certain series you miss, we can work with that. I said I am happy to manage your time and you can retire after the World Cup. He said no, he wants to retire. Then, Faf came that AB wanted to return. I turned it down. I thought it was unethical to the players who were part of the squad.”
In the SJN Hearings, de Villiers was also accused of denying Khaya Zondo a fair run in the side despite opportunities arising on an India tur in 2015. Another former selector Hussein Manack had said at the hearings that South Africa’s then captain AB de Villiers blocked Zondo’s selection in an ODI against India in 2015.
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WHAT HAPPENED IN THE AB DE VILLIERS – KHAYA ZONDO CASE? LINDA ZONDI EXPLAINS
Clearing the air around it, Zondi once again accused de Villiers.
“What happened on the day was, because I wasn’t there, the selector on tour [Hussein Manack] became the final decision-maker,” Zondi said. “I’m glad Hussein came and confessed that he had pressure put on him. I was clear with him that I was very unhappy with the decision.”