Finally‚ AB de Villiers breaks his silence over World Cup selection saga
AB de Villiers has claimed to be the victim of a smear surrounding the revelation of his ill-timed offer of availability for South Africa’s men’s World Cup squad.
Many South Africans believe that the story contributed to the team delivering their worst performance at a World Cup but De Villiers seems to be trying to rehabilitate his image.
In a social media post on Friday‚ De Villiers wrote that “… two days before the World Cup squad was announced‚ I contacted (Du Plessis) for a chat.”
“I had been in decent form during the Indian Premier League (IPL) and casually repeated what I had said when asked a year earlier‚ that I was available if required … but only if required.
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“I made absolutely no demands at all. I certainly did not try to force my way into the World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament‚ and did not expect to be included.”
De Villiers’ post included an assertion that “… when asked (presumably when he retired) if I could be available for the World Cup‚ agreed to keep the door open”.
He didn’t say who asked him to do so‚ just like he didn’t say who revealed the details of his late offer.
But he did try to paint himself as maligned: “Elements of our (his and Du Plessis’) private conversation were disclosed to the media‚ and distorted to cast me in the worst possible light.
“The story was not leaked by me‚ or anybody associated with me‚ or by Faf. Maybe someone wanted to deflect criticism. I don’t know.
“As a result I was unfairly described as arrogant‚ selfish and indecisive but‚ with all humility‚ my conscience is clear.”
De Villiers retired from international cricket in May last year‚ but it emerged during the World Cup that he had told Faf du Plessis during the IPL and shortly before South Africa’s squad was announced that he was willing to play in the one-day showpiece.
Selection convenor Linda Zondi vetoed the notion of De Villiers’ comeback‚ not least because he was by then ineligible.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials had pleaded with him to play as few as two of the 10 one-day internationals against Pakistan and Sri Lanka in January and March to stay in the mix for the World Cup. He refused‚ they say.
The news that De Villiers wanted back in broke after South Africa had lost their first three games‚ and only added to the pressure on a team who were beaten in five of their eight completed matches to become the first side to be eliminated from the running for the semi-finals.
De Villiers signed off with‚ “I am not angry with anybody.”
He may find the feeling is not mutual.