AB de Villiers calls time on South Africa career

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Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers cited fatigue as a major factor in his decision to bring an immediate end to a stellar international career.

De Villiers made his Proteas bow in December 2004 and went on to establish himself as one of their greatest ever batsmen over the course of 114 Tests, 228 one-day and 78 Twenty20 internationals.

The 34-year-old sits fourth and second respectively on South Africa’s all-time list of top run-scorers in Tests (8,765) and ODIs (9,577), finishing with an average of more than 50 across both formats.

He was a pivotal presence in South Africa’s middle order during their first Test series win over Australia on home soil since 1970 earlier this year, but it proved to be his international swansong.

De Villiers insists his choice was not motivated by a desire to spend the rest of his career on the lucrative domestic T20 circuit but because competing at the top level had left him weary.

In a video on his Twitter account, he said: “I have decided to retire from all international cricket with immediate effect. It is time for others to take over. I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired.

“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.

“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.

“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 (South Africa captain) Faf du Plessis and the Proteas.”

De Villiers had only recommitted to playing in all three formats for South Africa last August after taking a break from Test cricket, and his announcement may come as a surprise given he has spoken previously of a desire to compete at the 2019 World Cup.

He added: “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.”

De Villiers, who captained South Africa for two Tests during England’s 2015-16 tour and from 2012-2017 in the white-ball formats, was part of the side that rose to the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings six years ago.

His legacy, though, will be defined by his impact with the bat, and arguably his greatest moment came in January 2015 when he thrashed the fastest ODI fifty off 16 balls against West Indies, needing a further 15 deliveries to reach three figures for the quickest century in the format.

He has held top spot in both the ICC’s Test and ODI rankings, simultaneously on occasion, but mere statistics and records do not truly encapsulate De Villiers.

At his best, De Villiers was able to combine traditional strokeplay, a flair for the unorthodox and unabashed raw power to earn the moniker ‘Mr 360’ for his ability to hit the ball to any parts of the field.

Cricket South Africa president Chris Nenzani said: “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.”

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