Cricket South Africa on AB de Villiers comeback controversy: 'We have to stay true to our morals'

The Cricket South Africa (CSA)’s national selection panel convenor, Linda Zondi, has defended its decision to turn down AB de Villiers' offer to come out of retirement and feature in World Cup 2019.

AB de Villiers wanted to come out of retirement for the World Cup.   -  AP

The Cricket South Africa's (CSA) national selection panel convenor, Linda Zondi, has defended its decision to turn down AB de Villiers' offer to come out of retirement and feature in the World Cup. In a statement issued by CSA, Zondi has said that the association had to ‘stay true to the morals and there is no regret in the decision’.

“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. He turned down the offer and said he was at peace with his decision to retire,” Zondi said.

READ: AB de Villiers sought World Cup return, Cricket South Africa management said no

“For Faf du Plessis and Ottis Gibson to share AB’s desire to be included in the squad on the day we announced our World Cup squad on April 18th was a shock to all of us. AB left a big vacuum when he retired, we had a year to find players at franchise level to fill the gap. 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,” the convenor said.

“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. 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.”

South Africa has so far had a dismal outing in the World Cup, losing all the three matches to England, Bangladesh and India.