Faf du Plessis draws former South Africa players' ire for indulging AB de Villers on Test unavailability

After returning from a 1-3 Test series defeat to England, South Africa Test skipper Faf du Plessis declared that de Villiers had "earned the right to do whatever he wants to".

FP Sports, August 12, 2017

The continuing absence of AB de Villiers in the South African Test team has triggered a Twitter war among former Proteas cricketers.

After returning from a 1-3 Test series defeat to England, South Africa Test skipper Faf du Plessis, in an interview with Sports24, declared that de Villiers had "earned the right to do whatever he wants to" in regards to his playing future.

"He's played 100 Test matches, 12 years of cricket away from home, he's done everything that there is to do in a South African shirt apart from winning a World Cup," said du Plessis.

Soon, former Prot eas batsman Herschelle Gibbs took to Twitter to criticise both the players. Gibbs posted a screenshot of the article, condemning du Plessis for "putting a player on a pedestal" before adding that Jacques Kallis achieved more than de Villiers ever did but said the star all-rounder "never disrespected the game".

A deluge of comments followed with many South African players, former and current, joining in. Former South African batsman Ashwell Prince endorsed Gibbs's view and wondered if Hashim Amla would be allowed a similar break from the game.

Former spinners Paul Harris and Simon Harmer weighed in with their thoughts too. Harris advised Prince and Gibbs to call de Villiers rather than chastise him on Twitter while off-spinner Harmer remarked that someone needed to get "the chip off" Prince's shoulder.

AB de Villiers took part in the ODIs and T20Is that preceded that four-Test series on South Africa's England tour. After the T20I series against England, de Villiers said he would meet with Cricket South Africa in August to decide his playing future.

With several players, who might have been in the Test squad, having taken the 'Kolpak' route to play for English counties, the importance of AB de Villiers to the South African team had increased manifold. Fast bowler Dale Steyn had already been ruled out and seamer Vernon Philander struggled with fitness throughout the series.

However, de Villiers opted out of what was the centrepiece of a four-month tour to take a break from the strain of being one of the world's leading bastman in all three international formats.

When he was asked what he planned to do for the next couple of months, de Villiers said: "I am going to spend a bit of time off at home with the family, I’m going to welcome my new youngster into the world, and obviously look to stay fit.

He insisted he wanted to make sure he was ready when Bangladesh tour South Africa in September.

For all his success at the Test level, de Villiers still has a burning ambition to help the Proteas register their maiden World Cup title.

The next World Cup takes place in England in two years' time, and de Villiers, who was in charge of the South African team during a heartbreaking semi-final loss to co-hosts New Zealand at Auckland in 2015, reaffirmed: "It’s my main dream to win a World Cup for South Africa, or to be part of it in one way or another."

With inputs from AFP.

Updated Date: Aug 12, 2017

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3634 125
2 South Africa 3589 112
3 Australia 3499 106
4 New Zealand 2354 102
5 England 3772 97
6 Sri Lanka 3182 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6470 127
2 India 5819 121
3 South Africa 3842 113
4 New Zealand 4602 112
5 Pakistan 3617 103
6 Australia 3699 100
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 3972 132
2 India 4601 124
3 Australia 2570 122
4 England 2448 117
5 New Zealand 2542 116
6 South Africa 2058 114