Among the most shocking stories in the ongoing world cup, a series that is currently counting the few hours that are left before the big final on Sunday happens to be one concerning AB de Villiers.
It’s needless to say it but still worth a mention that on his day, AB De Villiers was one of the most popular and enterprising batsmen out there in the sport, regardless of formats, and also the most dangerous.
The dashing right-handed batsman had opened up in the middle of the tournament- one that didn’t exactly bring wide-eyed smiles for the Proteas supporters- about his offer to his national side to play for South Africa.
This became a piece of big news. In fact, to call it massive wouldn’t be making a big deal of it. At a time where South Africa were being hammered, having begun their tournament with a loss to England (in the campaign opener), followed by another against India, the mere mention that AB de Villiers had offered his services to his national cricket side was big and was received sportingly by fans.
But he wasn’t entertained because of the requirement directed by Cricket South Africa that a player to be eligible should have direct involvement with national cricketing duties for a year. And this made the fans clench their fist in frustration. After all, who wouldn’t have wanted to see AB back in the middle?
The team’s campaign was already down in the doldrums with not many apart from Faf du Plessis shining with the bat albeit playing a lonely soldier out there. Now, as South African cricketers have returned back and only a game is left before the 2019 ICC World Cup bids adieu to us fans, AB de Villiers has spoken again.
And he’s defended his decision regarding offering his representation to South Africa in what turned out to be a beleaguered and demoralizing series for the usually mighty Proteans.
What didn’t turn in AB’s favor, however, was the fact that many turned him ‘selfish’ for seemingly sounding selfish as having him back in the squad would’ve seemed like a premier batsman wanting to force his comeback to the side.
But the great batsman has offered some explanation to settle the dust once and for all regarding the needlessly-debated episode. In his own words, the following was AB de Villiers’ response to the needless furor:
“Now the Proteas’ World Cup campaign is over, and the team cannot be distracted, I would like to respond to unjustified criticism of me during the tournament,” De Villiers said in a statement on Friday.
“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. 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 each year from eight months to just over three months.”
But all that said, one does wonder that what might have happened if AB would’ve returned to a side and thus, to a sport to which he’s brought so much joy? How long would he and Faf have persisted to make all the wrongs right for South Africa, for which key players like Amla, Miller, Duminy all flopped without any significant impact on the mega tournament?
Perhaps it’s only fair to respect that the former cricketer at least offered himself at a time where South Africa were faced with utter turmoil, let’s not forget that a lot didn’t go in their favor, considering Steyn exited without even bowling a single delivery.