Cricket South Africa on Thursday said it has no regret over the decision not to recall former batsman AB de Villiers following his reported decision to come out of retirement for the 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
CSA National Selection Panel convenor Linda Zondi said that the body had urged de Villiers against retirement in 2018 but he insisted he was at peace with his decision.
“AB is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world, but above all else, we have to stay true to our morals and principles, there is no regret in the decision,” Zondi said in a statement on the CSA website.
De Villiers, a former captain, retired from international cricket in 2018 having played 114 Test matches, 228 one-day internationals and 78 Twenty20 matches.
Zondi said De Villiers’ desire to be included in the South Africa squad on the day the World Cup-bound team was announced was a shock.
“We had players who put in the hard work, who put up their hands and deserved to be given the opportunity to go to the World Cup. The decision was based on principle; we had to be fair to the team, the selection panel, our franchise system and players,” Zondi said.
Zondi said De Villiers, who was given an option to plan and monitor his season to get him to the World Cup in good shape, declined to play home tours against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in order to be considered for selection. He opted to sign to play in the Pakistan and Bangladesh Premier Leagues instead.
“At no point in the year that he had retired did he make himself available for selection. It was no option when I received the news on the day of the squad announcement, our squad was finalised and confirmed,” Zondi added.
Speculation about De Villiers’ return gained traction following South Africa’s loss to India by six wickets in their third fixture of the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday.
It is the first time the Proteas have lost three Men’s World Cup games in a row. South Africa’s other losses came against England and Bangladesh.
South Africa currently lies in 9th position in the tournament’s table ahead only of Afghanistan, who have a game in hand.