Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar on Saturday criticised veteran South African batsman AB de Villiers for offering to come out of retirement for ICC World Cup 2019. In a strongly-worded video shared on his Youtube channel, Akhtar slammed the timing of the big revelation and reckons that it was only a trick to grab the headlines amid South Africa’s struggling campaign in England and Wales.
South Africa registered their worst ever start to a World Cup campaign. They lost their opener to England, before being outsmarted by a clinical Bangladesh side and finally lost their third against India. South Africa had never before lost three straight matches at any World Cup event since their debut appearance in 1992. And these defeats came amid injury concerns as Hashim Amla sat out of two matches while Lungi Ngidi remained on the sidelines for a week more and Dale Steyn being been ruled out of the WorldCup.
Just a day after South Africa’s loss to India, reports revealed that AB had made a last-ditch offer to come out of international retirement for the World Cup in England, but was turned down by the South Africa team management just a day before their final squad was announced. ESPNCricinfo reported that AB had approached skipper Faf du Plessis, coach Ottis Gibson and convener of selectors Linda Zondi with his thought but his request was “not even considered”.
Akhtar accused the veteran, who had announced his retirement back in May 2018, for choosing ‘money over country’.
“Recently AB De Villiers announced that he wants to play for South Africa in the World Cup. This is big news but why is he issuing such statements when South Africa are down and out,” Akhtar said. “Firstly, people must not forget that there was pressure on AB De Villiers to leave IPL and PSL contracts and make himself available for the World Cup. However, he chose the IPL and PSL, announced an early retirement and recused himself from the World Cup.”