AB de Villiers walks off after being dismissed during the second Twenty20 game between SA and England, in Taunton on June 23 2017. Picture: ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS
AB de Villiers walks off after being dismissed during the second Twenty20 game between SA and England, in Taunton on June 23 2017. Picture: ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS

London — Ottis Gibson and Faf du Plessis put an offer from AB de Villiers to return to national duty for the World Cup‚ but it was rejected by the selectors.

De Villiers made a shock retirement from international cricket in May 2018 — a decision that has come back to haunt SA‚ who have for the first time lost three consecutive games at a World Cup.

ESPNcricinfo reported on Thursday that De Villiers’s wish to make a comeback was put to the selectors the day before the squad was announced.

“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‚” a Cricket SA release quoted selection convenor Linda Zondi as saying.

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“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.

“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.”

SA’s team management clarified that “at no point did Ottis and Faf want AB in the team. “They simply just relayed the message to Linda”.

SA have lost to England‚ Bangladesh and India‚ and must win all six of their remaining matches to be confident of reaching the semifinals.