Southampton: With South Africa struggling in the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019 in England and Wales, many supporters are missing AB de Villiers, who announced his international retirement last year. However, now it has emerged that the batsman had offered to come out of retirement to play the World Cup.

According to espncricinfo, 35-year-old de Villiers had approached the South African team management one day before the Proteas World Cup squad was to be announced. However, de Villiers' offer was rejected.

India-South Africa match scorecard

This offer was made by de Villiers to captain Faf du Plessis and coach Ottis Gibson, the website reported on Thursday (June 6), a day after South Africa lost to India in Southampton.

With three consecutive losses in the World Cup, the Proteas need to win their remaining six matches in the round robin phase to have any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

Photos from India-South Africa match

The report said, "It is understood that there were two main reasons behind the team management and selectors' decision. Primarily, de Villiers had retired in May 2018, exactly a year before the World Cup was scheduled. Thereafter, he did not fulfil the selection criteria, which included playing South African domestic cricket or international cricket in the intervening months.

"It was also felt that a recall for de Villiers would have been unfair on the players who have been performing in his absence, men such as Rassie van der Dussen, who made three fifties in his first four ODI innings after making his debut against Pakistan in January.”

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De Villiers, one of the best batsmen in the world, had played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is before announcing his decision to bid adieu to international cricket. However, he continues to play in domestic T20 leagues. Recently, he played for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL 2019).

In the current World Cup, South Africa have been hit by injuries to Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla and Lungi Ngidi. While Steyn has been ruled out of the entire tournament, Amla recovered to play against India yesterday. Ngidi is still not fit and did not feature in the game against the Virat Kohli-led side.