AB de Villiers: South Africa have 'no regret' over not recalling ex-captain for World Cup

Media playback is not supported on this device

India beat winless South Africa by six wickets
ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019
Dates: 30 May - 14 July
Live coverage: Ball-by-ball commentary on Test Match Special, plus text commentary, clips and highlights on the BBC Sport website

South Africa have "no regret" over the decision not to recall former captain AB de Villiers for the World Cup.

The batsman, 35, quit international cricket in 2018 but it has emerged he made himself available as the World Cup squad was about to be announced.

The Proteas have lost their first three games at the World Cup.

"It was based on principle; we had to be fair to the team, the selection panel, franchise system and players," said selection convener Linda Zondi.

"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.

"At no point in the year that he had retired did he make himself available for selection."

Zondi said he was only told De Villiers was making himself available on 18 April, the day the squad was announced, and that it was far too late to change South Africa's plans by that point.

He also indicated that the batsman had signed up to play in the Pakistan and Bangladesh Premier Leagues at a time when he needed to be available for home Test series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in order to be considered.

De Villiers played in 114 Tests and 228 one-day internationals, and last played for South Africa in the fourth Test against Australia in April 2018.

He announced his retirement from international cricket the following month, saying he had "no plans" to play overseas and that "it's not about earning more somewhere else, it's about running out of gas and feeling that it's time to move on".

Media playback is not supported on this device

Why is AB de Villiers retiring from international cricket?

In a statement, Zondi said: "I pleaded with AB de Villiers not to retire in 2018. Although there was a perception that he was picking and choosing when to play - which was not true - I did give him the option to plan and monitor his season to get him to the World Cup fresh and in a good space.

"We made it clear that he would have to play during the home tours against Sri Lanka and Pakistan to be considered for selection. Instead he signed to play in the Pakistan and Bangladesh Premier Leagues respectively.

"For [captain] Faf du Plessis and [coach] Ottis Gibson to share AB's desire to be included in the squad on the day we announced our World Cup squad on 18 April was a shock to all of us.

He added: "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."

On Thursday, following India's six-wicket win over South Africa, De Villiers said on Twitter: "All that's important is that we should all focus on supporting the team at the World Cup. There is a long way to go and I believe the boys can still go all the way."

South Africa's next World Cup game is against West Indies in Southampton on Monday, 10 June.

Top Stories