AB de Villiers, perhaps South Africa’s greatest ODI batsman, made a last-minute offer to come out of retirement to feature in the World Cup 2019 but Cricket South Africa turned him down, according to a report in ESPN Cricinfo.
In an announcement made on Twitter, de Villiers called curtains on his international career in May 2018, suggesting he was tired by the rigours of international cricket after a career spanning 14 years.
De Villiers continued playing in T20 leagues at home and abroad, and continued to achieve high levels of success. Most recently, in the 2019 IPL, he notched 442 runs at 44.20, striking at 154.00.
I’ve made a big decision today pic.twitter.com/In0jyquPOK
— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) May 23, 2018
That success must have prompted a rethink. De Villiers is understood to have approached South Africa captain Faf du Plessis, coach Ottis Gibson and convener of selectors Linda Zondi with his offer to play the World Cup, but the bid was, reportedly, “not even considered”.
It is proposed that CSA felt it would be unfair on other players to give de Villiers a spot after he had called curtains on his South Africa career almost 12 months ago, after which the likes of Rassie van der Dussen came in and found form.
De Villiers is one of South Africa’s greatest batsmen, not only in ODIs but also in Tests. In the 50-over format, he scored 9,577 runs at an outstanding average of 53.50 across a career spanning 228 matches. In the longest format, he scored 8,765 runs at 50.66 from 114 matches.
South Africa, meanwhile, have had a torrid time in the World Cup as one of only two teams – the other being Afghanistan – to remain winless so far. Their batting has looked fragile and they failed to put up substantial scores against England and India. Against Bangladesh, they scored 309-8, still falling 21 runs short of what their less-fancied opponents posted. Their semi-final hopes now hang by a thread.