AB de Villiers, one of the most accomplished and talented batters of all time, opened up about a looming uncertain offing. He is confident, though, that he has a role to play for both his national side and the IPL franchise that has shown him so much love, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Last November, just prior of the IPL franchises’ retention day, one of the game’s most legendary batsmen announced his retirement from all aspects of the game.
“I still believe that I have a role to play in SA cricket and also over there in the IPL with the Royal Challengers Bangalore,” he told Times LIVE.
Aside from his staggering total of 20,014 runs, AB holds the ODI marks for the fastest fifty, century, and 150 runs. He also managed to score 4522 runs for RCB in 157 matches, with an incredible average and strike rate.
“I have no idea what will happen next,” he added, “but I’ll take it one day at a time and see.”
“No one knows about it,” he continued, “and hopefully one day I will be able to look back and know that I made a significant difference in the lives of a few players.” That is my current emphasis, and I’m not sure if it will be professional or casual, but we’ll see where we go with it.”
AB also talked on the personal struggles he faced, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. “Going to the IPL twice last year, where we had to deal with a lot of travel restrictions, Covid-19 testing, missed and cancelled flights, and trying to organise school for the kids was quite tough,” he said.
“I’ve determined over the last three years that I’m not going to travel without my kids any longer,” he added, “and the divided IPL has really complicated things.” The most difficult task was probably staying sane, motivated, and energetic. I also contracted Covid-19 at some point and was really ill for 10 to 12 days before recovering. With the epidemic circulating, those were the hurdles, and there were basic strains of life.”
AB spoke about the difficulties he faced while playing in the IPL. “By far, the hardest hurdle this year (2021) has been the travelling arrangements and the IPL,” he said, “and finding the energy to still desire to be the best in the world was challenging.”
“And the minute where I felt the difficulty of travelling and being there at the IPL for two-and-a-half to three months a year, specifically with this one that was split into two, bubbles and this and that made things very complicated with regards to cricket and the enjoyment thereof,” AB was heard saying.
“I found myself on the park where scoring runs and playing well for the team didn’t really correspond with everything that goes with it anymore,” the South African power hitter continued, “and that’s where the balance started driving me to hanging up my gloves.”
“I’ve never been the type to put every ounce of my ability and cricketing skill into a game; I’ve always played for the sheer love of it.” And the moment that began to happen, I realised it was time for me to go on.”