AB de Villiers reportedly threatened to leave the team amid a tour if Khaya Zondo was selected in the playing XI. The alleged incident took place during South Africa’s tour of India in 2015.
The South African news outlet News 24 quoted former Cricket South Africa (CSA) President Norman Arendse’s report into the incident. As per the report, Khaya Zondo had been selected to play in the 5th ODI in Mumbai but was removed in the last minute.
Khaya Zondo was to replace an injured JP Duminy in the playing XI. However, Dean Elgar was flown in from South Africa after De Villiers allegedly threatened to walk out. Having played just 5 ODIs before that, the left-hander was not part of the limited over set-up then.
It was “unfair and contrary to the CSA selection policy,” Norman Arendse was quoted by News 24.
🔒Revealed for the first time, Adv Norman Arendse's report into the saga:
⚫️ It "was unfair and was contrary to CSA Selection Policy"
⚫️ Zondo was selected in the XI the night before the 5th ODI vs India
+ AB called Haroon to intervene/take Zondo out.https://t.co/49mT861LSi
— #SbuSpecials (@Sbu_Mjikeliso) August 13, 2020
The aftermath of the Khaya Zondo-Dean Elgar saga
After the Indian tour, a group of cricketers calling themselves ‘Black Players in Unity’ wrote a letter to CSA stating that black cricketers were being selected to adhere to South Africa’s racial transformation policy. The letter suggested, however, that they were being seen as ‘water carriers’.
As per this racial transformation policy, the South African team has to have a minimum number of coloured players in the squad and the playing XI.
Former player and selector Ashwell Prince believes that any poor performance by the South African team is blamed on this policy.
“Literally every World Cup since or poor series blamed on ‘Transformation’, or otherwise translated if you like, ‘because we have to play with these people’,” tweeted Ashwell Prince.
The southpaw also touched upon the Khaya Zondo episode from the Proteas' tour of India.
“Zondo was selected by selectors, in the starting XI (I know because I was a selector). Zondo doesn’t play? Why?”
Literally every WC since, or poor series blamed on TRANSFORMATION, or otherwise translated if you like, “because we have to play with these people” 2016 in India, ZONDO selected by selectors, IN THE STARTING 11 ( I know, because I was a selector) Zondo doesn’t play? Why?
— Ashwell Prince (@ashyp_5) July 10, 2020
Khaya Zondo finally made his ODI debut for the South African side debut against India in 2018. He has scored 142 runs at an average of 35.5 from 5 ODIs so far.