South African cricketer Khaya Zondo has made huge revelations about then-skipper AB de Villiers’ statements to him when the former was selected to play for the national team. It’s the second player after Thami Tsolekile to accuse De Villiers of discriminatory behavior.
Zondo recalled how De Villiers tried to exclude him from the playing XI even though he fit the bill perfectly. Following an injury to JP Duminy in a home series against India, Zondo was supposed to make his debut. However, South Africa went to extreme lengths to bring in Dean Elgar, who wasn’t there in the original squad, to replace Duminy.
De Villiers reportedly threatened to walk out of the tour if Zondo was part of the playing XI for the final ODI. Speaking about the same issue at Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Social Justice and Nation Building hearing, Zondo said:
“The captain called me over to the side, away from the rest of the team, and mentioned to me he was the one who felt I should not play. He was trying to explain himself and he was taking full responsibility for the decision.”
“I could not believe this guy was trying to justify himself to me” – Khaya Zondo
Khaya continued stating he decided to withdraw any relations with the squad after he understood that his services weren’t required. AB de Villiers has always been an inspirational cricketer, a once-in-a-generation type talent, so to hear such words from the batting great made Zondo lose all his respect towards him.
“I remember in the moment of him explaining himself to me, losing all respect for him as a captain, and as someone I looked up to as a cricketing hero of mine, because I could not believe this guy was trying to justify himself to me. It was as if, I should accept this decision because the decision came from him,” Zondo concluded.
Although Khaya Zondo eventually made his debut for South Africa in 2018, he revealed that watching other cricketers get chances ahead of him was one of the hardest phases in his life.