South African star slams 'unjustified' World Cup criticism

South African cricket star A.B. De Villiers has issued a statement taking aim at ‘unjustified criticism’ of him in the lead-up to the World Cup.

The former superstar batsman had attracted criticism prior to the tournament, after word leaked he had contacted Proteas captain Faf du Plessis days before South Africa’s squad was announced.

This led to speculation he had contacted du Plessis to ask for a spot in the team - a claim De Villiers strenuously denied in a statement posted to Twitter.

In it, De Villiers said he had waited until now to ensure he was not a distraction to the team in their quest to win the World Cup.

“Now the Proteas’ World Cup campaign is over, and the team cannot be distracted, I would like to respond to unjustified criticism of me during the tournament,” the statement read.

AB De Villiers has responded to the criticism he copped prior to the Cricket World Cup. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

“I continue to be asked to comment on the disclosure, and distortion, of a private conversation that took place just before the squad was announced and, for the benefit of anyone who may have felt let down, would like to explain what happened.

"Faf and I have been friends since we were at school together and, two days before the World Cup squad was announced, I contacted him for a chat.

"I made absolutely no demands at all. I certainly did not try to force my way into the World Cup squad on the eve of the tournament, and did not expect to be included.

"The story was not leaked by me, or anybody associated with me, or by Faf," he said.

"As a result, I was unfairly described as arrogant, selfish and indecisive but, with all humility, my conscience is clear.”