Thursday February 29, 2024

SA ‘should do anything’ to win T20 World Cup: Jonty Rhodes

March 11, 2020

MUMBAI: Former batsman Jonty Rhodes believes South Africa should “do anything” to win the ICC T20 World Cup, and that means picking AB de Villiers, who hasn’t played international cricket for nearly two years, if needed.

But Rhodes is concerned that picking de Villiers could set a worrying precedent, as it would mean leaving out a player who would be in contention in the lead-up to the tournament.

Rhodes’ fear is the same as that expressed by middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen during the World Cup last year, as van der Dussen would likely have lost his spot had de Villiers been picked.

Incidentally, van der Dussen ended as South Africa’s second-highest scorer, averaging 62.20 with three half-centuries, behind Faf du Plessis. “I think it’s interesting because it’s a tough call,” Rhodes told ESPNcricinfo on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.

“You want your best team to play, it’s also tough on the guys who then miss out. You know AB is a very special player so then do you set a precedent for a guy like AB de Villiers if he is not playing for South Africa, I mean why are you selecting him?

“I suppose a lot of people watch how he performed at the IPL but just watching him in the Big Bash, he’s such a class player; I’m a big fan of AB de Villiers. I’m just not sure of the precedent. If you want to win a T20 World Cup, you should do anything to win it. You’re not breaking any rules, you are setting a slight precedent and you are going to be upsetting a few players who are going to miss out. But a team without AB de Villiers or a team with AB de Villiers… I’d love to see that guy play.”

De Villiers retired from international cricket in May 2018 and it was later revealed that he made an offer to play the 50-over World Cup last year, but was turned down by the national selectors.

There have been recent talks of de Villiers returning to the international fold and the new head coach Mark Boucher indicated last month that if de Villiers were available, they would take him to the T20 World Cup. South Africa will be desperate to get the best players for a global tournament after their seventh-place finish in the ODI World Cup last year.