AB de Villiers

“I was unfairly described as arrogant” – De Villiers on World Cup claims

South African batsman AB de Villiers has strongly rejected claims that he tried to force his way into the South Africa setup.

Reports emerged during a poor World Cup campaign for South Africa who finished 7th in the World Cup group stage that De Villiers, 35, had asked to be selected days before the World Cup squad was released.

However, the 35-year-old insists that he only casually reiterated a point he had previously expressed, that he was available for selection if required.

“Faf (du Plessis) 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.

“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 also expressed his disappointment at the release and distortion of his private conversation with Faf du Plessis, South Africa’s captain.

“The story was not leaked by me, or anybody associated with me, or by Faf. Maybe someone wanted to deflect criticism. I don’t know.” De Villiers added that the way he had been portrayed was unfair.

“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, agreed to keep the door open.”

De Villiers had previously retired from international cricket in May 2018 saying he was “tired”. The middle-order batsman has featured in 228 one-day internationals for South Africa and over 400 international matches in total for his country.

JOEL KIFFIN / Getty Images

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