Reports: AB de Villiers had threatened to walk out of India tour if batsman Khaya Zondo was selected

Reports: AB de Villiers had threatened to walk out of India tour if batsman Khaya Zondo was selected

After the series, a group of cricketers calling themselves ‘Black Players in Unity’ had written a letter to the South African cricket board.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

The South African side, after registering a semi-final defeat in the 2015 World Cup, had toured India in the latter part of the year for three T20Is and five ODIs. It was a memorable outing for the Proteas as they clinched the T20I as well as ODI series.

South Africa won the T20I series 2-0 and followed it up by securing the ODI series in a thrilling way. South Africa, led by AB de Villiers, won the last ODI by a massive 214-run margin to end their India series on a winning note.

Years after the triumph, reports have suggested that skipper de Villiers had vehemently blocked Khaya Zondo’s inclusion in the squad for the fifth and final ODI at Mumbai. De Villiers had even threatened to walk out of the national side if Zondo was selected, as per a report by News24.

The news outlet quoted former Cricket South Africa (CSA) President Norman Arendse’s report into the incident, revealing that Zondo’s name was on the team sheet ahead of the fifth ODI. However, he was removed from the XI hours before the match, contrary to the CSA selection policy.

Dean Elgar had replaced an injured JP Duminy in the series

Dean Elgar, who had played just five ODIs, was flown in to replace injured JP Duminy during the series. Zondo, who was originally a part of the ODI squad, was sidelined in the process and was left out from the XI.

After the series, a group of cricketers calling themselves ‘Black Players in Unity’ had written a letter to the South African cricket board. They had pointed out Zondo’s role in the series while highlighting that black cricketers were being seen as ‘water carriers’, facing indifferent treatment in the team.

Zondo’s omission has often brought up while discussing the racial transformation target in South African cricket. Recently, former Proteas player Ashwell Prince had also highlighted Zondo’s tale in a Twitter thread.

Following South Africa’s defeat in the semi-final of 2015 World Cup, several reports had also suggested that AB de Villiers was forced to play Vernon Philander instead of Kyle Abbott. De Villiers, in his autobiography, also wrote that he had been called a day before the semi-final and told to include Philander, even though it had been ‘generally assumed’ that Abbott would play.