South Africa batsman Khaya Zondo revealed during the recent Social Justice and Nation Building hearings that he lost all respect for star Proteas batter AB de Villiers after he blocked his selection during South Africa’s tour of India in 2015 for the ODI series decider in October.
Zondo's exclusion from the side and the management's decision to go ahead with Dean Elgar over him led to a dramatic movement within the South Africa national team, with a group of black players even writing a letter to Cricket South Africa, expressing their concern over how they were qualified to be selected in the national team in the first place but did not manage to break into the Playing XI.
Zondo was part of that India tour and with the series levelled at 2-2, he was left out of the decider in Mumbai, with Elgar, who had flown to be part of the Test squad which was to be in action after the ODI series, was selected ahead of him.
It came across as if I should accept this decision because the decision came from him (AB): Zondo
"The captain (AB de Villiers) 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," Zondo read from a statement submitted to the Transformation Ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza.
"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, and it came across as if I should accept this decision because the decision came from him," he added.
"I switched off mentally for the rest of the day and I detached myself from the team because it was clear I was not wanted," Zondo said.
"Switching off helped me cope with everything that was happening. The hardest part was watching the players who were selected ahead of me playing and having the opportunity to shine for South Africa on a world stage, in India and having a chance to play and potentially impress and get future IPL opportunities," he added.
Zondo did present his testimony to the Office of the Transformation Ombudsman privately on July 22 and requested it to be made public on Friday, a day after the former national selector Hussein Manack testified about the incident. In fact, Manack also admitted to regretting not backing Zondo back then.