Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers. Photo: www.photosport.nz
Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers. Photo: www.photosport.nz
Ashwell Prince feels that players shouldn't be able to pick and choose when they play for the Proteas. Photo: Etienne Rothbart
Ashwell Prince feels that players shouldn't be able to pick and choose when they play for the Proteas. Photo: Etienne Rothbart
“Captain putting a player on a pedestal!” Photo: Reuters
“Captain putting a player on a pedestal!” Photo: Reuters

CAPE TOWN – Former Proteas middle-order batsman and selector Ashwell Prince says no national team player should ever have the right to “do what he wants”.

This was in response to comments made by South African captain Faf du Plessis at his arrival press conference at the Cape Town International Airport on Thursday, where he was asked about whether AB de Villiers will return to the Test side at some stage in future.

De Villiers has been criticised for seemingly “picking and choosing” when he wants to play Test cricket, and he once again missed the four-Test series against England, which the Proteas lost 3-1, as he wants to spend more time with his family.

The 106-Test veteran’s absence was exacerbated by the struggles of the batsmen on tour, especially in the middle-order.

But the SA ODI skipper has said previously that he wants to sit down with Cricket South Africa – and a possible new coach, believed to be England bowling coach Ottis Gibson – in the next few weeks to sort out his future involvement ahead of next month’s series against Bangladesh.

“AB has earned the right to do whatever he wants to,” Du Plessis was quoted as saying at the press conference by Sport24.

“He’s played 100 Test matches, 12 years of cricket away from home, he’s done everything that there is to do in a South African shirt apart from winning a World Cup.

“He wants to spend more time at home... if you’re playing all three formats for South Africa you’re spending seven, eight months a year away from home. That’s obviously not the best family lifestyle.

“Test cricket is obviously the one that takes the longest and that’s AB’s only reason, nothing else.”

That resulted in a response from De Villiers’ former Proteas teammate, Herschelle Gibbs, who said on Twitter: “Interesting article this..captain putting a player on a pedestal! Never thought I’d see this..anyway”

Current Cape Cobras coach Prince, who captained the Proteas in two Test matches out of the 66 that he played, agreed with Gibbs and replied: “Ridiculous statement @hershybru just wondering at which point then @amlahash will be allowed to do what he wants. Soon it’s free for all.”

Gibbs mentioned former all-rounder Jacques Kallis, saying that “Kallis achieved more than ab ever will,played longer than him to..he made his decision to retire on his own not keep anybody hanging.

“Has nothing to with administrators..that’s the national captain speaking! Did smith ever say kallis could do that? and he achieved more”

The 40-year-old Prince responded, saying about former Proteas captain Graeme Smith: “He, Smith did recently say AB could do whatever he wants to. There must be a tipping point where players become bigger than the Nation.”

That saw ex-spinner Paul Harris weighing in with a reply to Prince: “As ex players why not pick up the phone and call him instead of having a go on Twitter. #justathought”, and the argument continued, with Prince hitting back: “@paulharris12 Didn’t hear you say that when both Biff and Faf hung Vern out to dry in public did I? Some #proteafire they’ve got going there”

Others such as Proteas Test spinner Simon Harmer and all-rounder Johan van der Wath – who called Prince a “knob” – added in their two cents as well…

 

IOL Sport