Cricket South Africa says the decision to turn down a request by Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and coach Otis Gibson for prolific batsman AB de Villiers to be included in the World Cup squad, was based on principle.

In a statement released by the federation, Cricket South Africa gave De Villiers options to be considered for selection, but he turned them down in May last year, saying he was at peace with his decision to retire.

The cricket website, Cricinfo, reported earlier that De Villiers approached Du Plessis and Gibson 24 hours before the announcement of the 15-man World Cup squad, making himself available for selection.

The Proteas suffered their third successive defeat at the World Cup on Wednesday, losing by six wickets to India in Southampton.