South African captain Faf du Plessis has broken his silence on the controversy surrounding AB de Villiers’ wanting to come out of retirement for the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, saying he had told the swashbuckler that it was too late to consider the offer.
Speaking to the reporters after the rain-abandoned game against West Indies, Du Plessis revealed that he and his former teammate AB had telephonic conversation on this matter during the Indian Premier League (IPL) earlier this year.
De Villiers bid farewell to international cricket in May last year.
Over a week ago, news broke out that the retired Proteas star had offered to come back to play for the national side in the 2019 World Cup and Cricket South Africa (CSA) had turned his request.
“It was just a conversation, a phone call the night before the team got announced,” the official website of the Cricket World Cup quoted du Plessis as saying. “It was just a ‘this is what I’m feeling’ (phone call).” he said.
“I said to him, ‘I think it is too late but I will check in with the coach and the selectors the next morning’. When I spoke to the coach and the selectors, they all agreed that it was way, way too late to change the team on 99.99.”
ESPNcricinfo had earlier reported how the offer was made by De Villiers in May, just a day before the South African selectors announced their final 15-member squad for the showpiece event.
The report came at a time when Du Plessis-led South Africa faced successive losses in their first three matches of the ongoing tournament.
When asked whether the development had impacted his side negatively, the Proteas skipper said, “I think a little bit of both. We do feel like the news came in and like, went through the team. It didn’t have a huge impact.”
“There was just a discussion on clarity and on making sure everyone knows what’s going on and then it was moving on. The team was happy to get on with business. But it is stuff like that generally you feel like it can make you, give you direction in your team and give you purpose to focus on what lies ahead,” he added.