AB de Villiers opens up on his decision to retire from international cricket

He reiterated that he has "absolutely no regrets" about the timing of his decision.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers of South Africa. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Recently retired cricketer AB de Villiers, fan favorite among all cricket lovers and touted as one of the best batsmen cricket had ever produced across all formats, shocked the cricket fraternity when he announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in May, just a year before the start of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The 34-year-old South African said it wasn’t fair for him to “pick and choose” his formats behind his decision.

He remains one of the few cricketers to average above 50 in both Tests and ODIs with over 18,000 international runs. Although he will continue to play for Royal Challengers Banglore in the IPL and Titans in the South African domestic circuit, de Villiers was outspoken in his desire to “enjoy” life as a retired cricketer, putting an end to a career that started back in 2004 when as a 20 year old he opened the innings for South Africa in a Test match against England.


I was prepared to embrace it, to fight the pressure

It has now been four months since he made the decision, and de Villiers is already enjoying his life post-retirement. In an exclusive interview to The Times of India (TOI), he admitted that the pressure he had to face was “unbearable at times” and played a large role in influencing this decision.

“It’s been unbearable at times: the pressure you have to face, performing day in and day out. The expectations that you put on yourself, from fans, from the country, from coaches. It is huge, and it’s something that’s on your mind all the time as a cricketer. I was prepared to embrace it, to fight the pressure.

And I’m happy that I did. But it certainly takes his toll after a while. I feel there is room for players to be more honest about it, having systems in place to make sure they keep fresh and mentally healthy,” AB de Villiers said.

“I was certainly not mentally ill at the time, but I can relate to the fact that pressure can really drive you down, and make you so tired. But I truly believe that players who tell you they don’t feel the pressure of international cricket, being away from home for months at a time, are lying to everyone and themselves,” he remarked.

Despite the pressure, de Villiers enjoyed the game thoroughly throughout his career and while reiterating that he has “absolutely no regrets” about the timing of his decision, he conceded that he “will always love the game”.

“I’m still going to play for a few years; I’ll still play a little bit around the world. But on my own terms.” the Pretoria-born cricketer added.

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