Herschelle Gibbs sparked a Proteas Twitter spat on Friday by criticising South Africa captain Faf du Plessis for defending the indefinite absence from Test cricket of AB de Villiers.
De Villiers has not played a Test since January 2016 and announced at the start of this year that he will be taking an indefinite break from the longest format in order to concentrate on white-ball cricket.
Du Plessis this week stated he does not expect his predecessor to return to the Test arena, adding that he has "earned the right to do whatever he wants to".
That stance on De Villiers' future following a 3-1 series loss in England did not go down well with former Proteas opening batsman Gibbs.
He tweeted a picture of a story about Du Plessis's views on De Villiers and wrote: "Interesting article this..captain putting a player on a pedestal! Never thought I'd see this..
"[Jacques] Kallis achieved more than ab ever will but he kept on playing and never disrespected the team and the game remember that.
"Kallis achieved more than ab ever will, played longer than him to [sic]..he made his decision to retire on his own not keep anybody hanging."
Interesting article this..captain putting a player on a pedestal! Never thought I'd see this..anyway pic.twitter.com/F6u17j0sVD— Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) August 11, 2017
When one user suggested that administrators may feel the need to handle players differently now, Gibbs wrote: "Has nothing to with administrators..that's the national captain speaking! Did [former captain Graeme] smith ever say kallis could do that? and he achieved more."
Ex-South Africa batsman and former national team selector Ashwell Prince replied to his former team-mate Gibbs by tweeting: "Ridiculous statement @hershybru just wondering at which point then @amlahash [Hashim Amla] will be allowed to do what he wants. Soon it's free for al [sic].
"He, [Graeme] Smith did recently say AB could do whatever he wants to. There must be a tipping point where players become bigger than the nation."
Former South Africa spinner Paul Harris weighed in by questioning why Prince was "always looking for a fight", stating that the former batsman and Gibbs should phone De Villiers rather than criticise him on social media.
Prince responded with: "Didn't hear you say that when both Biff and Faf hung Vern out to dry in public did I? Some #proteafire they've got going there," he added, referring to Du Plessis questioning the fitness of bowler Vernon Philander.
Essex's South African spinner Simon Harmer posted: "Someone needs to get the chip off @ashyp_5's shoulder...", to which Prince replied: "Oh wow! Love it when true colors come out. In case you didn't realize, it's 2017, everyone's entitled to an opinion. But we understand."
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