Proteas coach Ottis Gibson revealed that AB de Villiers requested to be part of the 2019 Cricket World Cup just hours before the squad was due to be announced.
De Villiers has caused a stir among Proteas fans by admitting that he wanted to be part of the World Cup effort. The team have made a terrible start to the tournament losing all three of their matches to date.
Gibson says he received a call from De Villiers either the night before or the morning of the announcement, the coach took the request to the selection committee who decided he had left it too late.
“It was the morning of or the night before, I can’t remember,” Gibson told gathered media in Southampton ahead of the Proteas match against the West Indies at the Rose Bowl on Monday.
“I can’t remember his exact words, but he asked if there was any chance he could come back.
“I said I would have to check with Cricket South Africa and the chairman of selectors. We all came to the conclusion that he had left it too late.”
Gibson said that it had been made clear to De Villiers that he would have to make himself available for the series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the tail-end of the South African summer.
“He was told that if he wanted to be available then Pakistan and Sri Lanka (ODI series earlier this year) were games he needed to play, and obviously he didn’t,” Gibson said.
“I actually saw him in December during the Mzansi Super League at Centurion.
“I asked him if he was finished with this retirement nonsense yet and he said he was happy with his retirement and with the decision he has made. That was the end of that as far as I was concerned and the Proteas was concerned.”
Gibson said that if De Villiers really wanted to be part of the World Cup squad then he would have played or at least made himself available for the ten ODIs that made up the home international season.
“AB can’t help us because he is not here,” Gibson said.
“I suspect that there are a lot more people wanting AB to be here than AB himself.
“If he wanted to be here, he would be here, but he is wherever he is in the world right now doing exactly what he wants to be doing.”