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I knew I wouldn't have a normal career, says Khaya Zondo recalling 2015 incident vs IND

Recently, South African cricketer Khaya Zondo, who testified during the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings saying AB de Villiers stopped him from playing last year, has come forward and stated that the incident even made him think about quitting the game.

The incident, Zondo called, was the last ODI game against India in 2015 when JP Duminy suffered an injury, and Dean Elgar replaced him in the playing XI despite the latter not being part of the ODI squad initially. As a result, Zondo, who was already there in the ODI squad from the beginning, saw himself being detached from the team and felt unwanted. 

"India is a lucrative tour, and if you perform there, you can showcase your skills, and you have the opportunity to be viewed and seen by the Indian public and IPL team owners. There's a lot to gain from it. There was also the opportunity to create history for South Africa's Proteas. So, do I think there was race involved? I definitely think there was a racial element involved in the matter," Zondo testified at the SJN hearings last year.

Speaking in an interview with Sport24 this week, the 32-year-old reflected on his decision to quit the game after that incident. He felt that his career would never be 'normal', and he was very close to calling it a day back then, and it was the pat on the back from the family kept him going.

"How did I deal with it? I think my support structure. At home, my family told me, don't give up; find ways to get through this. Funnily enough, one of the cricketers I spoke to said to me he admired that I still played cricket, and he appreciated the fact that I didn't go off the rails and become a 'bum'. I still think about the times when I was a quarter to calling it [a day]. This was not how it was meant to go, I thought," the Durban-born cricketer said.

Earlier last year, de Villiers broke his silence on this matter, denying Zondo's comment on race being involved in Elgar's selection ahead of Zondo.

The former Protea captain said, "Zondo was a non-playing member of the squad and was there to gain experience and see how the system works." 

He said he believed Elgar and Farhaan Behardien were the next batters in line in the event of an injury.

The current Dolphins batter made his ODI debut against India in 2018 and Test debut against Bangladesh earlier this year. 

"They say God gives his strongest soldiers his toughest battles. You go through that, but you fight, and you come out the other side a stronger individual, and you learn from it," Zondo concluded.