The former South African first-class cricketer Ray Jennings, who has also served as the Proteas’ coach, is not ready to accept that AB de Villiers had indeed made himself available for World Cup 2019. A major controversy engulfed South Africa during their far-from-impressive campaign at the Cricket World Cup after it was reported de Villiers had approached the authorities and offered to get back into the squad.
I’d put my life on the line
The 35-year-old cricketer quit international cricket a year ago and plays franchise cricket now. It was said on behalf of the SA cricket authorities that de Villiers’ request could not be met since it was far too late and also because he hadn’t fulfilled the selection protocol. Jennings, who was unfortunate to not have played for SA because of the Apartheid isolation, called AB “the most sincere person” and “definitely not selfish”.
“AB is the most sincere person – definitely not selfish as a player. I’d put my life on the line so say that it’s rubbish that he would wait until 24 hours before the team announcement to make himself available. It’s nonsense,” Jennings was quoted as saying in an interview with South Africa’s Netwerk24.
De Villiers, who had captained the Proteas in the 2015 edition of the World Cup and led them to the semi-finals, reportedly spoke to current captain Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson barely 24 hours before the final squad was announced a couple of months back. Cricket South Africa’s convenor of selectors Linda Zondi was also informed about it but it was eventually decided to not to take de Villiers for it was believed that doing so would be unfair for players who prepared themselves for the mega event.
However, Jennings, who coached SA in the early 2000s, said there was more to the story than what appeared before the eyes.
“I’d expect something like this from an arrogant Kevin Pietersen or Graeme Smith, but definitely not AB. I just know him too well to believe he’ll do something like this. There is another story behind the scenes that need to be told,” he said.