AB de Villiers, the former Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman recently called time on his illustrious career, but that was a decision that was already made before its confirmation. AB de Villiers retired from all forms of cricket late last year, after having completely ruled out any possibility of returning to the Proteas fold months earlier.
That statement alone crushed the spirits of many a Proteas fan, who had been clinging on to any sight hope that they would get to see AB de Villiers in the green and gold South African cricket jersey again. However, despite a year of publicly flirting with the idea of a sensational return, both CSA and AB de Villiers seemed to finally accept that his international career had come to an end.
AB de Villiers Retired From All Formats As He Felt The Difficulty Of Travelling In Bio Bubbles In IPL 2021 For Close To 3 Months
That is, of course, an incredible international career, which saw AB de Villiers represent the Proteas for 16 years at the highest level. In that period he amassed all of 114 Tests, 228 ODIs, and 78 T20s for South Africa, doubling up as wicketkeeper-batsman. He was also no slouch on the field when deployed elsewhere when not wearing the gloves behind the stumps.
But it was undoubtedly with the bat in hand where he made his name and shone the most for the Proteas. The 37-year-old notched up a mind-boggling 20,017 runs across all formats of the game for South Africa. He also holds the unique record of being the fastest batter to reach 50, 100, and 150 in ODIs.
AB de Villiers revealed that the decision to retire was already set in stone before it was announced to the world.
“Cricketing wise, it has been coming for quite some time, it’s always been about enjoyment for me. And the minute where I felt the difficulty of traveling and being there at the IPL for two and half to three months a year, specifically with this one that was spilt into two, bubbles and this and that made things very complicated with regards to cricket and the enjoyment thereof,” said de Villiers.
AB De Villiers retires from IPL as the sixth highest run-getter in the tournament and one of the two overseas players to scale the mountain of 5000 runs. AB De Villiers retired from all forms of cricket in November 2021, making the 2021 season of the IPL his last IPL season.
The 37-year-old had played in 184 IPL matches, firstly for Delhi Capitals (formerly Delhi Daredevils) for three seasons, followed by a successful decade with Bangalore, where he formed a formidable partnership with Virat Kohli. Overall, he scored 5162 runs at an average of 39.70 and strike rate of 151.68, including three centuries and 40 half-centuries while being a member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore side, which entered the IPL playoffs five times.
AB de Villiers Said It Was Time To Move On As Soon As The Enjoyment Of Playing Cricket Went Down
AB de Villiers then made a startling revelation that, while the rest of the world enjoyed seeing the talented former batter racking up the runs on the park, the feeling was rather different for him.
“I found myself on the park where scoring runs and doing well for the team didn’t really match with everything that goes with it any more and that’s where the balance started leading towards hanging my gloves up.I have never been the guy who is going to push every single bit of energy of my ability and my cricketing skill, I have always played for the enjoyment of the game. And the minute that sort of started going down, I knew it was time for me to move on,” concluded de Villiers.
No matter how one feels about AB de Villiers, his contribution to not only the Proteas but the sport of cricket deserved a better ending than that. AB de Villiers announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on November 19, 2021.
Notably, he had already retired from international cricket in May 2018 and since then he was playing only franchise cricket. AB de Villiers, who hangs up his boot as one of the greatest players in the shortest format of the game, hit 9424 runs in 340 matches in T20 cricket, having played franchise-based cricket across the globe.
He had retired from international cricket in 2018 after scoring 1672 runs in 78 T20Is, 9577 runs in 228 ODI matches, and 8765 runs in 114 Tests. He played seven matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2021 and smashed 207 runs at a strike rate of 164.28 averaging 51.75.