As per reports of South African media, former South African captain and batsman AB De Villiers had offered to come out of retirement to play for the national side but this was turned down by the country's Cricket board. De Villiers retired from all formats of the game in 2018, handing over the reins of the team to Faf Du Plessis.
AB allegedly approached South Africa's head coach Ottis Gibson, selector Linda Zondi and captain Faf du Plessis, to showcase his willingness to come out of his retirement this summer for the World Cup, but his request was turned down.
De Villiers allegedly made the comeback offer in May, just a day before the selection committee announced the 15-man squad for the World Cup in England and Wales. The board allegedly turned down De Villiers' request in the pretext of not letting down other players who had been training for over a year and deemed that it would be unfair. Further, the board went ahead to state that De Villiers had retired exactly a year before the World Cup in May 2018 and hence did not meet the selection criteria for making it to the national side. According to people privy to the talks, de Villiers' request was "not even considered".
De Villiers has an impressive record of 9577 runs at an average of 53.50 and has played 228 matches in the ODI format from 2005 onwards. The big hitter had also fueled speculations of returning to the national side while he was playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, scoring 442 runs at an average of 44.20 in the IPL this year. He has the 10th-most scored total centuries(47) among international cricketers.
De Villiers played his last game for South Africa against India in February 2018.
South Africa has suffered three consecutive losses in the World Cup 2019, losing their opening match to England followed by a loss to Pakistan and India. With Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi being ruled out of the tournament with injuries, South Africa find themselves in a very tough spot to qualify as they are left with just 6 games. Many believe that the return of the veteran could turn around the situation for the South African team.