ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
An AB return would have been disruptive: Pollock
Shaun Pollock has weighed in on South Africa's decision to deny AB de Villiers a return to international cricket
7 June 2019, 01:16 PM AEST
Former skipper Shaun Pollock has defended the decision of South African selectors to decline AB de Villiers’ offer to come out of retirement for their World Cup campaign, saying the alternative would have been “disruptive” to the side’s push to win the tournament.
Cricket South Africa confirmed on Thursday that the idea of de Villiers returning to the international side had been raised in April, eleven months after he announced his retirement from international cricket.
The suggestion, put forward by skipper Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson, was declined by selectors, a move backed by Pollock on Thursday.
“If it did come just as the (World Cup) team was about to be announced, that’s quite disruptive from a team perspective,” Pollock said.
“If we do find out he was available, maybe he should have spoken up a little earlier. That would have been good.”
De Villiers reportedly reached out to du Plessis and Gibson during a stretch of impressive form for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, where he scored 442 runs at an average of 44.2.
Given the news reached selectors just as they were finalising their World Cup squad, the idea of a comeback was deemed “unfair” to South Africa’s current squad members.
“We had players who put in the hard work, who put up their hands and deserved to be given the opportunity to go to the World Cup,” national selector Linda Zondi said.
“The decision was based on principle; we had to be fair to the team, the selection panel, our franchise system and players.”
South Africa have begun their World Cup campaign with a string of underwhelming performances and unfortunate injuries.
The Proteas have lost to England, Bangladesh and India in the first week of the tournament, with Hashim Amla and Lungi Ngidi spending time on the sidelines and Dale Steyn ruled out of the event entirely due to injury.
According to Pollock, such times make it inevitable for followers of South African cricket to reminisce about the batting prowess of de Villiers, one of the country’s greatest ever players.
“You always cherish the performances he’s produced,” Pollock said.
All that’s important is that we should all focus on supporting the team at the World Cup. There is a long way to go and I believe the boys can still go all the way #ProteaFire— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) June 6, 2019
“When you see bad batting from South Africa, you think ‘wouldn’t it be nice to be able to call on him’.
“But I can understand why the decision was made.”
South Africa will play the West Indies in a must-win match at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on Monday.
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
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For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE