One of contemporary cricket’s greatest batsmen, AB de Villiers, called on Wednesday time on his illustrious international career, claiming to be “out of gas” after 14 years in the top league. The 34-year-old former South African skipper said his jaded body was no longer in a position to take the rigours of international cricket after a staggering 420 matches across three formats with over 20,000 runs and 47 hundreds. He averaged over 50 in both the Tests and ODIs.
“I have decided to retire from all international cricket with immediate effect. After 114 Test matches, 228 ODI’s and 78 T20 Internationals, it is time for others to take over. I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired,” De Villiers announced through a video message on social networking site twitter.
“This is a tough decision, I have thought long and hard about it and I'd like to retire while still playing decent cricket. After the fantastic series wins against India and Australia, now feels like the right time to step aside,” De Villiers’ decision epitomised the age-old truth of sport — quit when people ask “why” rather than “why not”.
While he remains a sought after player in leagues across the world and could have played the shorter formats, the affable Proteas dasher didn’t want to pick and choose.
“It would not be right for me to pick and choose where, when and in what format I play for the Proteas. For me, in the green and gold, it must be everything or nothing. I will always be grateful to the coaches and staff of Cricket South Africa (CSA) for their support through all these years. The most important thank you goes out to all of my teammates throughout my career, I wouldn’t be half the player that I am without the support throughout the years,” said De Villiers.
“It’s not about earning more somewhere else, it’s about running out of gas and feeling that it is the right time to move on. Everything comes to an end. To the cricket fans around South Africa and the world, thank you for your kindness and generosity, and today, for your understanding.”
In fact, de Villiers said that he didn’t plan to play overseas, which means that he will not be seen in RCB colours in the IPL next season. “I have no plans to play overseas. In fact, I hope I can continue to be available for the Titans in domestic cricket. I will continue to be the biggest supporter of Faf du Plessis and the Proteas.”
De Villiers holds the records for the fastest 50 (16 balls), 100 (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls) of all time in One Day Internationals. The swahbuckling batsman is a three-time ICC ODI player of the year, clinching the trophy in 2010, 2014 and 2015. De Villiers succeeded Graeme Smith as ODI captain after the 2011 World Cup. He later took over the Test captaincy from Hashim Amla. However, he stepped down from leader of the five-day format in 2016 due to an elbow injury.
Cricket South Africa president, Chris Nenzani, paid tribute to the innovative batsman. “AB is one of the all-time greats of South African cricket who has thrilled spectators around the world with his sheer brilliance, coupled to his ability to innovate and take modern day batting in all three formats, but particularly in the white ball ones, to new levels. What is probably more important is the inspiration he has been to his team mates whether playing at international or domestic level and the wonderful role model he has been to all our aspiring youngsters. It goes without saying that he is going to be greatly missed wherever international cricket is played,” he concluded.