Last week, cricket fans all over the world were shocked when AB de Villiers announced his retirement from international cricket. Giving the reason for his sudden retirement, he said he was tired after a 14-year international career. He accepted it had been a tough decision but “I would like to retire while still playing decent cricket. I have no plans to play overseas. I hope I can continue to be available for the Titans in domestic cricket.”
The announcement was shocking for most cricket fans around the world because they thought he could have played international cricket for several years. He is still only 34.
His announcement also surprised South Africa cricket management. Coach Ottis Gibson said that the retirement of de Villiers was a setback for the South Africa team and that it would badly affect their preparation for the 2019 World Cup.
Dejected Gibson said that he had spoken to de Villiers the day before his announcement but failed to convince him to change his decision.
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers made his Test debut as an opener against England at Port Elizabeth on December 17, 2004. His start was not impressive as he scored only 28 & 14 in his first Test and South Africa lost the Test by seven wickets.
His last Test was against Australia at Johannesburg in April this year. He scored 69 and 6. South Africa won the match by a huge margin of 492 runs.
He made his ODI debut at Bloemfontein on February 2, 2005, as an opener, but got out for 20.
His last ODI appearance for South African came against India at Centurion on February 16, 2018. India won that match by eight wickets.
He was a champion in all three formats of the game.
In 14 years, he played 114 Tests, scored 8765, averaging 50.66, including 22 centuries and 46 fifties.
In ODIs, he was even more successful with 9577 runs in 228 appearances, averaging 53.50, hitting 25 hundreds and 53 half-centuries. His strike rate was an impressive 101.09.
AB de Villiers is the fourth highest Test runs scorer for South Africa. Ahead of him are Jacques Kallis (13206), Graeme Smith (9253) and Hashim Amla (8982).
In ODIs, with 9427 runs he is just behind Kallis who scored 11,550 in 323 ODIs.
Known as ABD, he led South Africa to the semi-finals of the 2015 ICC World Cup, in which he scored 482 runs, averaging 96.
He holds the unique record of scoring the fastest 50 (16 balls), the fastest 100 (31 balls) and fastest 150 (64 balls) in ODI cricket.
AB de Villiers was known as a ‘360 degree’ batsman as he could play shots in all directions.
He played at all positions. When he was on fire, the opposition captains were invariably left clueless about field placements.
He was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the recent IPL. His RCB captain Virat Kohli posted an emotional farewell message on Twitter for his “brother”, saying “you’ve changed the way batting was seen in the time you’ve played international cricket. My best wishes to you and your family for this amazing journey.”
Kohli and de Villiers formed a deadly partnership, and were unstoppable at their best. The duo shared many a memorable partnership in the IPL and had great respect for each other.