Southampton: South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has revealed that the last minute offer made by AB de Villiers to return to the national side for the ongoing World Cup was too late to consider. Speaking after Monday’s washout game against West Indies, du Plessis revealed that he and de Villiers had shared a phone call in the last edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in which the latter told him about his thoughts of willing to play in the World Cup.
“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). “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 revealed last week that offer was made by de Villiers in May, just a day before South Africa selectors announced their final 15-member squad for the prestigious quadrennial event. It was reported that de Villiers had approached du Plessis, head coach Ottis Gibson and convenor of selectors Linda Zondi, where he expressed his desire to reverse his retirement and play for the team in the World Cup. However, the team management declined his offer.
The revelation came at a time after South Africa lost their first three matches of the ongoing showpiece event. When asked whether the furore 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.
South Africa have managed just one point from the four matches they have played so far and are currently languishing at the bottom of the points table, just above Afghanistan whom they will play next on Saturday in Cardiff.