South African superstar AB de Villiers announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday, bringing an end to a glorious career.
The modern great, who will go down as one of the best batters in the history of the game, has been playing T20 cricket since his international retirement and was most recently a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
In a video statement released by RCB, de Villiers said there were a lot of mixed emotions at the end of his long career. He added that he had to priortize family time, while thanking the fans of the franchise.
“I’m going to be an RCBian for life. Every single person in the RCB set-up has become family to me. People come & go, but the spirit & the love we have for each other at RCB will always remain. I’ve become half Indian now and I’m proud of that. I have made my decision to retire now but many more years left of giving back to the game that changed my life,” he said.
“To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I’ve met, you can be very proud of what you’ve done and what you’ve given to RCB my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be,” Virat Kohli said in a tweet.
“This hurts my heart but I know you’ve made the best decision for yourself and your family like you’ve always done. I love you,” the now-former RCB captain added.
Here’s the statement posted by de Villiers on Twitter:
It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket. Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly.
That’s the reality I must accept - and, even if it may seem sudden, that is why I am making this announcement today. I’ve had my time. Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me.
Whether playing for the Titans, or the Proteas, or RCB, or around the world, the game has given me unimagined experiences and opportunities, and I will always be grateful.
I would like to thank every teammate, every opponent, every coach, every physio and every staff member who has travelled the same path, and I am humbled by the support I have received in South Africa, in India, wherever I have played.
Last, I am aware that nothing would have been possible without the sacrifices made by my family - my parents, my brothers, my wife Danielle and my children. I look forward to the next chapter of our lives when I can truly put them first.
De Villiers played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is for South Africa. As one of the foremost exponents of the T20 game, the man known as Mr 360 for his ability to pick any gap on a cricket field, played 340 matches of the 20-over format and scored 9,424 runs.
AB de Villiers career numbers
AB de Villiers in the IPL
The former South Africa captain and batting mainstay had retired from international cricket in 2018 but there were a few occasions when a comeback seemed possible at least in the white-ball formats.
De Villiers has played 156 matches for RCB and scored 4,491 runs. He is the second all-time leading run scorer behind Kohli and holds the second and third-highest individual run total in RCB history with 133 not out against Mumbai Indians (in 2015) and 129 not out against Gujarat Lions (in 2016).
The franchise said he “will go down as one of the greatest players in the team’s illustrious history”.
RCB chairman Prathmesh Mishra said, “AB de Villiers has been among the best ambassadors of the game, and we are honoured to have him represent RCB in the IPL. His work ethics have been impeccable, which has not only rubbed off on the team, but has left a high benchmark for other youngsters to follow.
“AB has been a true leader, both on and off the field and we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for his tireless commitment in helping RCB establish itself as one of the premier franchises in the IPL. We wish AB all the best for his next innings in life. He will always be part of the RCB family.”
With PTI inputs