Former South African captain AB de Villiers has denied allegations suggesting Kagiso Rabada should be removed from the team on racial grounds early in the pacemaker’s career.

In response to former National Electoral Bureau Hussein Manack’s testimony at the Cricket South Africa (CSA) Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings, AB de Villiers said his contributions to the selection were in the “best interests of the team” .

Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, AB de Villiers made it clear that he never wanted Kagiso Rabada to be dropped. He added that it would be ridiculous to do something like this since the 26-year-old bowler is one of the best in the business.

“I never wanted KG to drop out of any team at any point,” he said. “The idea is ridiculous. He’s one of the best bowlers in world cricket,” said AB de Villiers.

Hussein Manack’s allegation against AB de Villiers regarding Kagiso Rabada

This is the first time the case of Kagiso Rabada has gone public. The focus is on the 2015-16 Wanderers Test against England. Hussein Manack claimed team management (when AB de Villiers was captain) didn’t want Rabada to play in the game.

He explained the incident and said:

“I had been in training the day before and a decision had to be made whether to play Kyle Abbott and Hardus Viljoen,” said Manack, who was the host at the time. “There was a discussion in practice, and they [the team management] said we have to drop KG [Rabada]. “

“I asked on what basis. Rabada was 20 years old and hadn’t established himself as a great player. But after seeing him at the Lions where he came through, I’d seen a lot of him. He had a good reputation. There was a tricky explanation that the ball might not come out of his hand properly, “added the former selector.

“I’ve brought it back to [bowling coach] Charl Langeveldt and … Charl thought he was comfortable and everyone on the selection committee agreed that Rabada had to play. I said our decision is that Rabada has to play. There was one more spot that needed to be filled. We said between Abbott and Viljoen, you choose who you want. We don’t have a strong opinion anyway. In the end they chose Viljoen and weren’t happy with the way we held our own, “said Manack.

Kagiso Rabada got a five-wicket-hall in this game, followed by a career-best 13/144 in the next game.