Linda Zondi, the former South Africa chief selector has revealed the reasons behind star batsman AB de Villiers not taking part in the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales. Back in May 2018, AB de Villiers retired from international cricket but continued playing franchise cricket around the world.
Thereafter, rumours of him making a comeback did the rounds, but nothing substantial came to the fore. Linda Zondi said that despite his repeated requests to AB de Villiers to postpone his retirement after the World Cup, the latter didn’t budge.
Linda Zondi Opines On AB de Villiers Who Wanted To Retire Before 2019 World Cup
Later, the Pretoria-born showed his keenness to play the mega event-the 2019 World Cup in England but as per Linda Zondi, it would then have been unfair on the team members if the retired batter was included in the squad. Linda Zondi was also surprised after AB de Villiers refrained from sharing with him the reason behind taking a prolonged break from Test cricket back in 2017.
“When AB took a break [in 2017], he didn’t share the information with me. I contacted him and said I wasn’t happy with what you have done and he apologized,” Zondi told ESPNcricinfo.
“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,” he stated.
“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,” Linda Zondi added.
South Africa, led by Faf Du Plessis, had a disastrous campaign in 2019 as they failed to qualify for the semis. After playing 114 Tests, 228 ODIs, and 78 T20Is for the Proteas, AB de Villiers had called it a day.
AB de Villiers Expressed Desire To Return Through Faf du Plessis But It Was Too Late
Notably, the former South Africa captain had expressed his desire to return a month before the marquee event, through the then skipper and childhood friend Faf du Plessis, but was overlooked from the eventual squad.
Linda Zondi, who was South Africa’s chief selector then, opened up on the entire episode, as he appeared before Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Social Justice and National-Building (SJN) committee recently. He stated that AB de Villiers’ selection would’ve been “unethical” to the players who were already a part of the squad.
As far as AB de Villiers is concerned, he recently played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the second leg of the 2021 IPL in the UAE. The veteran still holds the record for the fastest century in international cricket that he accomplished against the West Indies in 2015.
In the IPL 2021, CSK openers Ruturaj Gaikwad (635 runs) and Faf du Plessis (633 runs) finished as leading run-getters in IPL 2021, while AB de Villiers was 19th among leading run-getters with 313 runs in 15 games. AB de Villiers recently told Mark Boucher that he would not be playing for South Africa again in T20I WC 2021. The Proteas great’s excellent form for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2021 had earlier rekindled hopes of his return to the national setup.
South Africa has some exceptionally talented players in the likes of Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Russie Van Der Dussen, David Miller, and Anrich Nortje on the team. So far, South Africa has yet to win a single T20 World Cup trophy and ODI World Cup. Also, they never made it to the finals of the T20I World Cup tournament. Meanwhile, this time under the leadership of Temba Bavuma, the Proteas team will be hoping for a better outcome in the T20 World Cup 2021.