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AB de Villiers responds to ‘unjustified criticism’ after South Africa’s World Cup exit

Retired South African star AB de Villiers has broken his silence on criticism that surrounded his non-selection in the Proteas World Cup squad.

After South Africa slumped to a defeat against India in the group stages of the tournament that all but ruled out its semi-final chances, reports revealed de Villiers had offered to come back for the World Cup, despite having retired from international cricket in May 2018.

De Villiers admitted that he did have a conversation with South African captain Faf du Plessis, but was adamant that he did not put pressure on the team to include him in the squad.

“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,” de Villiers said in a statement.

“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.”

De Villiers, who’s 9427 ODI runs ranks him behind only Jacques Kallis on South Africa’s runscoring list, admitted his disappointment at the private conversation becoming public.

“The story was not leaked by me, or anybody associated with me, or by Faf,” he said.

“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, I agreed to keep the door open.”

De Villiers also hit out at critics who suggested his international retirement was a decision based around money.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Vianine

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