South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has confirmed he got a call from AB de Villiers offering his services for the World Cup, but said the squad was already picked by that stage.
Du Plessis says the pair spoke on the phone the night before the 15-man squad was due to be officially announced.
“I said I think it’s too late, but I’d check in with the coach and the selectors, as the squad was already picked,” Du Plessis told a news conference on Monday after South Africa’s group game with West Indies was washed out.
“Everybody agreed it was way, way too late to change (the squad),” he added.
The revelation last week that the star batsman made a last-minute offer to come out of international retirement reportedly unsettled a team that had already lost its first three games.
Du Plessis, a long-time friend of de Villiers, and coach Ottis Gibson took the idea to the selection committee but head selector Linda Zondi said it was rejected in fairness to the players who’d already been picked.
The 35-year-old de Villiers retired a year ago at the top of his game. Du Plessis attempted to dispel the idea that the public release of the news was unsettling for his team.
“We do feel like the news came in and just went through the team. Didn’t have a huge impact,” he said. “There was clarity. Then it was moving on.”