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Ottis Gibson vexed having to deal with the AB de Villiers controversy
South Africa News

Ottis Gibson vexed having to deal with the AB de Villiers controversy

South Africa coach Ottis Gibson declared his annoyance at the latest saga surrounding AB de Villiers' controversial late offer to stage a comeback to international cricket in the World Cup, a request which was subsequently rejected by the Proteas team management.

De Villiers dominated the headlines on Thursday after it emerged he had approached Gibson and captain Faf du Plessis 24 hours prior to the announcement of the squad for the World Cup.

However, the star batsman found himself being snubbed by the team management since it was agreed that De Villiers had not participated in any domestic or international assignments over the past year and his selection ahead of more deserving youngsters such as Rassie van der Dussen would be unjust.

The revelation of De Villiers' willingness to come out of retirement has come at an intriguing period, given the fact that South Africa's current World Cup campaign is in complete shambles having slumped to their third consecutive loss to India on Wednesday.

Earlier, suffering defeats at the hands of tournament favourites England and a competitive Bangladesh side, South Africa now face the prospect of a first-round exit unless they get their act together in the clash against the West Indies on Monday.

In these challenging times for the side, Gibson was unamused having to deal with issues irrelevant to ongoing action as he hoped to transfer attention to resurrecting South Africa's chances in the World Cup.

'AB left it too late'

Facing the press in Southampton on Saturday, Gibson disclosed De Villiers had contacted him but the South Africa coach reminded him that he should have made himself available before the start of this year.

"AB called me. I think it was the morning that the squad was going to be announced. A lot of other things had gone on before that, of course," he said.

"We had decided already that he left it too late because the door was left open up until December, and then after that to come this late in the day," Gibson added.

"He knew, if he really wanted to, he knew that those 10 games against Pakistan and Sri Lanka were vitally important for us because from March to the World Cup we won't have any more cricket. But again, he knew that, and he's made his choice."

'If he wanted to be here, he would be here'

Gibson opined the media hype surrounding the controversy over De Villiers' offer seemed to exaggerate the extent to which the 35-year-old really wanted to play the World Cup.

"Personally I suspect that there are a lot more people wanting AB to be here than AB himself because I believe that if AB wanted to be here, he would be here."

The declining quality of South Africa's limited overs side and the perceived mishandling of the De Villiers issue has set into motion rumours regarding the future of Gibson as coach of the team following the World Cup.

Gibson admitted he was irked by the frequent questions on De Villiers' proposed comeback to the team when South Africa had been performing consistently well in his absence over the last 12 months.

"I was thinking to myself, because since he's retired we've won every series that we've played, and I haven't had many AB questions.

"Suddenly we've come to the World Cup and we've had one bad week, and AB is the saviour, but the guy is retired, he's made his decision, and we have to live with the decision that he's made."