Khaya Zondo, an aggressive middle-order batsman, recalled how the-then South African skipper AB de Villiers blocked his inclusion in the playing XI during the Proteas’ ODI series against India in 2015.
After Thami Tsolekile, another South African cricketer has lashed out at AB de Villiers for his approach during his days as an international player.
Khaya Zondo Said AB de Villiers Called Him Aside And Mentioned That He Won’t Play In The ODI Series Against India
Khaya Zondo was set to make his debut in the ODI series against India in 2015 after JP Duminy’s injury in the third game. However, the South African management decided to rope in Dean Elgar as a replacement for JP Duminy. Dean Elgar, who was not even in the original squad, played the last two matches of the series.
As per reports, the team management had picked Khaya Zondo in the playing XI for the final ODI, but skipper AB de Villiers threatened to walk out of the tour if Khaya Zondo played. Khaya Zondo revealed all details of his conversations with AB de Villiers during that period in his prepared submission to the Transformation Ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza.
“The captain (AB de Villiers) called me over to the side, away from the rest of the team and mentioned to me he was the one who felt I should not play. He was trying to explain himself and he was taking full responsibility for the decision,” Zondo said during the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) Hearings.
Khaya Zondo revealed the anguish he suffered after being left out of South Africa’s ODI team to play against India in 2015, a decision Cricket South Africa (CSA) ruled was unfair as it violated their selection policy. Dean Elgar was slotted into the XI in place of an injured JP Duminy, despite Khaya Zondo being the back-up batsman in the squad, and David Miller was kept in the team, allegedly at the insistence of then captain AB de Villiers.
Khaya Zondo Lost Respect For AB de Villiers As Skipper
Khaya Zondo, who finally made his ODI debut in 2018, added that he lost all respect he had for his hero AB de Villiers after he blocked his selection.
“I remember in the moment of him explaining himself to me, losing all respect for him as a captain, and as someone I looked up to as a cricketing hero of mine because I could not believe this guy was trying to justify himself to me, and it came across as if I should accept this decision because the decision came from him,” Zondo continued.
Khaya Zondo concluded by saying he detached himself from the squad after his conversation with AB de Villiers because he understood his services were not required. He labeled the phase of watching other South African cricketers get opportunities ahead of him as the ‘hardest part’ of his life.
The South African cricket team had a troubled year in 2015. Following their defeat in the World Cup semifinal earlier that year, there were reports that AB de Villiers had been forced to play Vernon Philander in the XI instead of Kyle Abbott. In January 2018, Khaya Zondo was named in South Africa’s One Day International (ODI) squad for their series against India. He made his ODI debut for South Africa against India on 4 February 2018.