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2019 World Cup: It was too late to include AB de Villiers in World Cup squad, says Faf du Plessis

The South African captain broke his silence on the phone-call with AB de Villiers, stating that the former Proteas batsman was too late to approach the side.

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Southampton Published on: June 10, 2019 23:24 IST
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The South African captain broke his silence on the phone-call with AB de Villiers, stating that the former Proteas batsman was too late to approach the side.

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has confirmed he got a call from AB de Villiers offering his services for the World Cup, but said the squad was already picked by that stage.

Du Plessis says the pair spoke on the phone the night before the 15-man squad was due to be officially announced.

"I said I think it's too late, but I'd check in with the coach and the selectors, as the squad was already picked," du Plessis told a news conference on Monday after South Africa's group game with West Indies was washed out. "All agreed it was way, way too late to change."

The revelation last week that the star batsman made a last-minute offer to come out of international retirement reportedly unsettled a team that had already lost its first three games.

Du Plessis, a long-time friend of de Villiers, and coach Ottis Gibson took the idea to the selection committee but head selector Linda Zondi said it was rejected in fairness to the players who'd already been picked.

The 35-year-old de Villiers retired a year ago at the top of his game. Du Plessis attempted to dispel the idea that the public release of the news was unsettling for his team.

"We do feel like the news came in and just went through the team. Didn't have a huge impact," he said. "There was clarity. Then it was moving on."

Only 7.3 overs were bowled at Hampshire's Rose Bowl on Monday after West Indies skipper Jason Holder won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat, expecting the Duckworth-Lewis run-rate calculator to come into play with heavy rain in the forecast.

"I do feel there was enough in that wicket with our bowling attack ...(but) the further the game goes, the closer to a T20 game, being two down already, the odds are heavily in (West Indies) favor," he said. "So as it got a bit later in the day, then you'd rather get the point and go," Du Plessis said.

"It's important for us to get cricket and start ticking over, but we can't control the weather so, as a team, (we'll) take one point. Now we move forward."

The South Africans were hoping to turn around their campaign after losses to England, Bangladesh and India to open the tournament but didn't get the positive start they needed, with veteran Amla continuing to struggle.

Now the South Africans need to win every game, and hope some other results go their way.

"It's as simple as - we are in this position because we haven't played our best cricket so we don't deserve to be anywhere close to the top of the log," he said. "It is very clear for us as a team we need to be at our best and we need to play well in the next five games.

"If we do that, and the results start one by one happening, then this team will get a lot of confidence from that for the later stages."

 

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