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World Cup 2019: Faf du Plessis and Ottis Gibson wanted AB de Villiers in the squad for the tournament

Earlier, it was also understood that De Villiers' request to make a comeback was not even considered.

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

AB de Villiers’ decision to retire in May 2018 raised many eyebrows and left many of the fans heartbroken, as he was expected to lead the Proteas batting in the ICC World Cup 2019. Many had thought that De Villiers would want to go on a high after the team’s semi-final exit in 2015 World Cup.

Now it has been revealed that the man had made an offer to return to the South African side on the eve of the squad announcement for the mega event in England and Wales. However, the Cricket South Africa (CSA) selection convener Linda Zondi turned down the request given that he had not fulfilled the criteria for selection. This makes the news more explosive given that South Africa have lost all three of their matches in the tournament so far.

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Du Plessis was keen on having AB back

Though the selection convener didn’t want AB de Villiers back, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was eager to have him in the squad given the seriousness and magnitude of the tournament. Chief selector Linda Zondi has confirmed CSA’s decision, elucidating that De Villiers was not considered due to his absence from prior ODI matches.

Zondi has also confirmed that apart from Du Plessis, coach Ottis Gibson was also eager to have the services of the former skipper back in the team. “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 18 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,” Zondi was quoted as saying by Omnisport.

It was hard to argue, as De Villiers boasts of 9577 runs in 228 ODIs with 25 centuries and 53 half-centuries to his name at an average of 53.50 and strike rate of 101.09. He was 34 years old when he retired in 2018. According to people privy to the talks, De Villiers’ request was “not even considered”.

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