An Open Letter to AB de Villiers - We're hurt, and thankful as well!

Of the billion things you perfected in your life, we're so glad you chose cricket as a career.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Anuraag Peesara
Anuraag Peesara

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Dear AB de Villiers,

I don’t know what to say, just like a million other admirers you’ve amassed over the years, I’m just gasping in disbelief. This announcement really occurred like a bombshell, ‘Nagasaki’ing the entire cricketing universe. The same person who picked up that Spiderman catch a few days ago saying “I’m tired” was something no one expected.

Fatigue has done something which some of the best bowlers like Dale Steyn, Mitchell Starc, Trent Boult, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, or Ravichandran Ashwin could do. The increasing workload to go with the expected pressure collectively have driven out one of the greatest cricketers out of the International circuit.

As much as I’m hurt, to not convey how thankful we are for your monumental contribution would be completely unfair. As outrageous you were on the field, your humbleness to just give away the credit to the fans, family or the almighty speaks volumes of the person you are. No wonder why the world is mourning right now.

The fastest century

As I sit back and recollect those stupendous occasions commemorated by an ABD special, the first thing that strikes my mind is that swashbuckling knock against the Windies at Johannesburg. 149 off 44 balls, 17 sixes, strike-rate of 338 – these stats are a testament to a fact that you had no boundaries sabotaging your strokeplay.

Shimmying down the track to a fast bowler, scooping/reverse-scooping the bowler behind the stumps, a classy cover drive and not to forget, that cross-batted swing by getting on your knees – there was nothing in or out of the book which wasn’t your forte and every intrepid thing you did exemplify the superhero you are!

Of the billion things you perfected in your life, we’re so glad you chose cricket as a career. 14 Years, 14 beautiful, momentous and unforgettable years of ABD magic which either kept us on the edge of our seat or made us stand up and applaud, I’m running out of words to describe my gratitude for your contribution.

A regret not just you, but everyone has is that you never managed to win a major trophy for South Africa. But as every parent would suggest, it’s not our accolades that’d make them proud, but the person we are and the respect we earned that’d bring a smile on their face.

If respect, humbleness, and love beyond the boundaries are many facets to be considered, you’re right up there amongst the greatest cricketers of all time. This is exactly what many cricketers like Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara, and Jacques Kallis have earned in their career, a humongous amount of respect.

Many term South Africa as the “Neutral’s favourite” and it’s because of cricketers like you. Watching you, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and the rest weep your heart out after that unforgettable semifinal game against New Zealand in 2015 will rank as the most heartbreaking cricketing memory for me, that really was the Proteas‘ World Cup to lose.

Cricket really is a beautiful game, but to stay here for an eternity is not possible. One fine day, everyone should move onwards and upwards and you too are all set for the second innings. But as we reminisce the magnitude of the impact you’ve had on the game, we’ll understand why you’re right up there amongst the greatest of the greats.

Bradman’s consistency, Richards’ aggression, Ranatunga’s revolutionary captaincy, Tendulkar’s godly status and Abraham Benjamin de Villiers’ 360* strokeplay, all these would remain a few of the most glorious chapters in cricketing history. Thank you ABD for all the wonderful memories, we loved every bit of you over the last decade or so.


Signed: An ardent cricket lover!