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Sports


'I made no demands' – AB de Villiers responds to World Cup selection row

'I made no demands' – AB de Villiers responds to World Cup selection row

Cape Town, Jul 12 (UNI) AB de Villiers has issued a clarification about the reports that

emerged during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 that he had wanted to come

out of international retirement and rejoin the South African ODI squad.

In a statement on Twitter, de Villiers, who exited international cricket in May 2018, hit

back at suggestions that he was being selfish. He insisted he did not expect to be a part

of the squad, but had agreed to "keep the door open" for an unlikely return for the World

Cup, after being asked if he could.

“I retired for honest reasons and, when asked if I could be available for the World Cup,

agreed to keep the door open. In the event, understandably, the team moved on. No

problem. I am not angry with anybody," he said.

"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. There

was no burning issue from my side, and no sense of injustice," said De Villiers

According to reports last month, de Villiers spoke to captain Faf du Plessis and made

himself available for selection just 24 hours before the squad announcement, but was not

given a go-ahead by the selectors. Cricket South Africa’s selection panel convener Linda

Zondi later confirmed having declined de Villiers’ last-minute offer, stating that the decision

was taken to stay true to their "morals and principles".

Apart from his year-long retirement, de Villiers hadn't been eligible for World Cup selection

since he had not met Cricket South Africa's criteria of playing domestic and international

games in the months leading up to the tournament, an ICC report on Friday said.

De Villiers confirmed that he and du Plessis had a conversation. "Faf and I have been

friends since we were at school together and, two days before the World Cup squad was

announced, I contacted him for a chat. I had been in decent form during the Indian Premier

League and casually repeated what I had said when asked a year earlier, that I was available

if required ... but only if required.”

Details of the conversation first emerged on June 6, a day after South Africa lost to India

in their third consecutive game of the World Cup. They eventually finished seventh in the

points table, with three wins in nine games.

"Out of the blue, on the evening after the Proteas lost to India, suffering a third successive

World Cup defeat, elements of our private conversation were disclosed to the media and

distorted to cast me in the worst possible light," De Villiers said.

"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,” he said.

De Villiers, who, in his retirement video, had admitted he wanted to reduce his workload,

also clarified that he had been playing only selected T20 leagues around the world, and

was not driven by financial gains.

"First, I announced my retirement from international cricket in May 2018 because I wanted

to reduce my workload and spend more time with my wife and young sons. Some have

insisted I was motivated purely by money. They are wrong," said De Villiers

“In truth, I have turned down many lucrative offers to play around the world, and have cut

the time spent away from home each year from eight months to just over three months," he

said.

"I have been massively proud to have played for, and indeed captain, my country on the

cricket field. My relationships with the Protea players remain as strong as ever, and I will

always be available to support and assist the next generation," De Villiers said.

"Lastly, in stating my side of this unpleasant and unnecessary saga, I want to stress my

continuing support for the team and the game that has shaped my life and provided me

with so many lasting friendships and incredible opportunities," he added.

UNI XC-BM

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