One of the modern greats of the game, Abraham Benjamin De Villiers, made his retirement official on May 23, 2018, with an immediate effect. It was shocking news for all the cricket fans worldwide, and it was an end of a legendary era.
AB De Villiers was a player who could do both Keiron Pollard and Virat Kohli in a match according to the situation, and was, in some ways, even better than them. He made unorthodox batting pleasing to the eye and shut down every traditional and conventional approach the coaches told the young players to play with. He showed the world that just having a keen eye on the ball can massively improve one’s batting and performance over time.
Like every South African, De Villiers had a weird backlift stance while the bowler delivered the ball in the initial stages of his career but got less over time. He made his debut against England in 2004 after immediately catching the eye of the selectors. He saved the test match of South Africa by scoring a vital 52 in just his 4th innings. It was clear that the kid from Pretoria had something special but no one knew he’ll top the batting charts and obliterate the best bowling attacks now and then.
De Villiers holds the records of scoring more than 2000 runs with an average of more than 50 at 100+ strike rate in ODI cricket, fastest 50 in ODI cricket, fastest 100 in ODI cricket, fastest 150 in ODI cricket, and many more. He is one player who can score a 31 ball hundred on one hand and a 220 ball 33 on the other. He’s a perfect example of someone having a plethora of talent along with the correct work ethic in order to perform for a long time.
Whether it the bat or the gloves, he’s just been phenomenal in all the departments. A blistering batsman, a phenomenal fielder, and a superb wicketkeeper. AB De Villiers has ticked the boxes in all departments and is in a league of his own.
AB was said to be on par, or even better than Virat Kohli till late 2016 before he underwent elbow surgery. He was topping the ODI batsmen ranking list and was averaging more than Virat Kohli at that point. But the unfortunate surgery widened the gap between him and Virat a lot more. He made a comeback to competitive cricket in 2017 and it never looked like he was not playing cricket for all this time. He scored a magnificent century against Australia in the home test series in 2018 as well.
AB gave the reason of “too much pressure” for his sudden retirement, but some of his interviews suggested that he did it because of the outrage he used to face from the fans even after giving his best. It was quite unfortunate for him and the Proteas to get knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 semi-final and the Champions Trophy 2017 under his captaincy. In both the tournaments, South Africa was cruising through but just a single game cost them the tournament.
AB De Villiers is still a very active part of the IPL and the Royal Challengers Banglore and has been performing for them every season. He still smacks bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah all around the park in a manner no one can even think of. It’s believed that he carries his IPL franchise almost all the time despite having names like Virat Kohli around him. He’s scored the most runs for the Royal Challengers Banglore in the recent seasons and has contributed in every possible way.
He makes monumental totals seem insignificant. His balance and power make him a bigger threat to the bowlers than even the likes of Keiron Pollard and Andre Russel. AB De Villiers on the song is a treat to watch for the fans but a highway to hell for the bowlers. A player with the class of AB is hard to find and the legacy of this guy is just forever and ever in world Cricket.