Former South African captain AB de Villiers has denied allegations suggesting that he asked for Kagiso Rabada to be dropped from the team, along racial lines, at the start of the pacer’s career.
De Villiers, who was leading South Africa when the speedster made his debut in international cricket, said that his inputs were for the ‘best interests of the team’.
The former South African captain came up with these comments after former Proteas’ selector Hussein Manack testified at Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings.
Manack made a bold statement during hearing and accused De Villiers of taking the calls along racial lines. However, De Villiers denied all the allegations and even hailed Rabada for his contribution to the team. He also declared Rabada as one of the finest bowlers in the cricket world.
While speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, De Villiers clarified that he never wanted Kagiso Rabada to be dropped. He further added that it would be ridiculous to do something like that.
“I have never wanted KG dropped from any team at any time,” he said. “The idea is ridiculous. He is one of the finest bowlers in world cricket,” said AB de Villiers.
During his testimony, Manack spoke about De Villiers’ role in the entire case on Khaya Zondo when the latter didn’t get to play a single game on the 2015 tour of India. However, the saga surrounding Rabada during the 2015-16 Wanderers, wasn’t made public before.
“I had been to the practice the day before, and a decision had to be made between playing Kyle Abbott and Hardus Viljoen. A discussion at practice took place, and they [the team management] said we must drop KG [Rabada],” Manack had said.
“I asked on what basis. Rabada was 20-years-old, and he hadn’t established himself as a great player. But having seen him at the Lions, where he was coming through, I had seen a lot of him. He had a good enough reputation. There was a cricketing explanation that maybe the ball wasn’t coming out of his hand right,” he added.
As long as Rabada’s international career is concerned, the speedster has picked up 213, 122 and 96 wickets in 47 Tests, 79 ODIs and 32 T20Is respectively with scoring over 1,000 runs in his international career for South Africa.