The South African team will definitely like to forget the cricket World Cup 2019 as a nightmare because they stood at the 7th spot in the points tally. The Proteas lost five matches while they were able to win only three matches in the tournament and their fans were left highly disappointed. Some cricket lovers believed that the condition of the team would have been different if AB de Villiers had been a part of the team.
There is no denying the fact that AB de Villiers is one of the greatest batsmen of all time and his presence would have affected the prospects of South Africa in a great manner. However, he took retirement from the International cricket in May 2018 because he wanted to spend more time with his family. Nevertheless, when he was asked whether he would make himself available in the team for the World Cup, he replied in positive but at the same time, he made it clear that he would join the team only if he is required.
During the World Cup 2019 when the South African team was on a losing spree, rumours started getting circulated that AB made himself available just 24 hours before the final squad of 15 members for the tournament was being announced. The matter was quite controversial and the South African cricketer was slammed by his fans; however, he remained mum because he didn’t want his team to get distracted in any manner. But now as the Proteas are back home, he has issued a statement in which he has made it clear that he never offered to join the team.
AB has poured his heart out on many issues, here is what he wrote:
“Now the Proteas’ World Cup campaign is over, and the team cannot be distracted, I would like to respond to unjustified criticism of me during the tournament.
I continue to be asked to comment on the disclosure, and distortion, of a private conversation that took place just before the squad was announced and, for the benefit of anyone who may have felt let down, would like to explain what happened.
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. 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.
Second, on the day of my announcement, I was privately asked whether ‘the door was still open’ for me to play in the World Cup. I was asked. I did not offer. I quickly replied ‘Yes’. With hindsight, maybe I should have just said no, but my natural instinct has always been to find a way to oblige whenever possible.
During the weeks and months that followed, there was no formal contact between Cricket South Africa or the Proteas and me. I didn’t call them, and they didn’t call me. I had made my decision and the Proteas moved on, enjoying success under the expert guidance of coach Ottis Gibson and the outstanding captaincy of Faf du Plessis. 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. 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.
Then, 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.
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. 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. Now, at this stage of my life, I would like to continue spending time with my family and to play in selected T20 tournaments in SA and around the world.
I have been massively proud to have played for, and indeed captain, my country on the cricket field. My relationships with the Proteas players remain as strong as ever, and I will always be available to support and assist the next generation.
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.”
AB de Villiers shared it on the micro-blogging site Twitter:
— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) July 12, 2019
We hope that AB’s statement would have clarified all the doubts that had been troubling his fans.