Five years ago, AB De Villiers had threatened to walk out of India tour if batsman Khaya Zondo was picked for South African team who toured India for three T20Is and five ODIs after losing in semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup.
The bilateral series, however, turned out to be a memorable one for South Africa as India suffered defeats and lost both T20I and ODI series. South Africa led by AB De Villiers won the last ODI by a massive 214 run margin to end India series on a winning note.
South Africa won the first T20I by seven wickets and the second one by six wickets while the third was abandoned. South Africa won the one-day series by 3-2 after winning the first, third and fifth one-dayers. In the fifth one-dayer, South Africa posted a mammoth 438/4 after centuries from Quinton De Kock, Faf Du Plessis and AB De Villiers.
Dean Elgar played that match instead of Khaya Zondo, who was left out of starting XI. The four-match Test series that followed was however won by hosts India 3-0.
AB De Villiers Refused To Include ‘Black’ Khaya Zondo
However, several years after their triumph, reports have emerged that captain AB De Villiers refused to include Khaya Zondo in the squad for the fifth ODI at Mumbai even threatening to walk out of the team if Khaya Zondo was selected.
The news outlet News24 quoted former Cricket South Africa president Norman Arendse’s report revealing that Khaya Zondo was included on team sheet before being removed from the playing XI just a few hours before the start of the match. It was contrary to the selection policy of Cricket South Africa.
?Revealed for the first time, Adv Norman Arendse’s report into the saga:
⚫️ It “was unfair and was contrary to CSA Selection Policy”
⚫️ Zondo was selected in the XI the night before the 5th ODI vs India
+ AB called Haroon to intervene/take Zondo out.https://t.co/49mT861LSi
— #SbuSpecials (@Sbu_Mjikeliso) August 13, 2020
Dean Elgar who at that time had played in only 5 one-dayers was flown in to replace injured JP Duminy during the series, thus sidelining Khaya Zondo who was eventually left out of the starting XI.
After the series was over, a group of cricketers called themselves ‘Black Players in Unity’ wrote a letter to the board pointing out Khaya Zondo’s role in series as black cricketers were seen as ‘water carriers’ and they were indifferently treated in the team.
Khaya Zondo’s Omission Highlighted By Ashwell Prince: CSA Takes No Ownership
Khaya Zondo’s omission has been highlighted by former Proteas batsman Ashwell Prince on Twitter. The incident often comes up during discussions of the racial discrimination present in South African cricket.
When we brought this to the attention of the leadership at lunch, we were told, “ah it’s only some people in the crowd, not the majority, let’s get back out there.” 2007 WC semifinal 60/6 absolutely blown away by Aus, who’s to blame, TRANSFORMATION. Absolutely 0 ownership!!!
— Ashwell Prince (@ashyp_5) July 10, 2020
Following South Africa’s defeat, captain AB De Villiers was forced to play Vernon Philander instead of Kyle Abbott and De Villiers in his autobiography also revealed that he had been called up a day before the semis and asked to include Vernon Philander although everyone assumed Kyle Abbott would play the semi-final.
Vernon Philander went wicketless as South Africa lost to New Zealand despite scoring 281 riding on Faf Du Plessis 82 and AB De Villiers 65.
New Zealand scored 299/6 and won by Duckworth Lewis Method by four wickets riding on Grant Elliot’s 84 and Corey Anderson’s 58 and Brendon McCullum’s 59. New Zealand, however, lost to Australia in the finals of the 2015 World Cup.