Former South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers called time on his professional cricketing career on November 19, 2021, announcing his retirement from all formats of the game including the Indian Premier League (IPL). His teammate at IPL, Virat Kohli paid rich tribute to his friend.
AB de Villiers had already called time on his international cricket career with an abrupt retirement in 2018. Though there were multiple efforts from him and the South Africa cricket board to try and make a comeback to international cricket, nothing materialized and once the talks failed on his potential comeback in 2020, De Villiers decided to make his retirement final.
The mercurial right-handed batter, wicketkeeper, and occasional bowler, De Villiers had a fulfilling international career that saw him master all three formats of the game. He finished with 8765 runs in 114 Tests, 9577 runs in 228 ODIs, and 1672 runs in 78 T20I matches with a total of 47 international centuries.
He holds the record for the fastest century (in 30 balls) and the fastest half-century (in 16 balls) in ODI cricket.
After his retirement from international cricket, he continued playing franchise T20 games around the world – at the BBL, the PSL, the Vitality Blast, the BPL, and the MSL back home. However, he is more associated with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) franchise, who he joined in 2011 and played 157 matches for them and scored 4522 runs at a strike rate of 158.33. He is also the franchise’s second-highest run-scorer of all time, behind Virat Kohli.
He formed a close personal friendship with Virat Kohli and the Indian batting star paid rich tribute to him despite saying that not playing with him will break his heart.
“This hurts my heart but I know you’ve made the best decision for yourself and your family like you’ve always done. 💔I love you 💔 @ABdeVilliers17,” Kohli tweeted.
This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done. 💔I love you 💔 @ABdeVilliers17
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 19, 2021
The Chinnaswamy Stadium Will Miss Cheering For You And I’m Going To Miss Playing Alongside You My Brother: Virat Kohli To AB De Villiers
The two batters had formed quite a partnership in the IPL and are the only pair to have more than one 200-plus run partnership in the tournament history. The duo holds the records for the top two highest partnerships in IPL history- 229 against Gujarat Lions in IPL 2016 and 215* against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2015.
Kohli also took to Instagram to show his admiration towards his friend and fellow class batter with the message reading: “You’ve given everything to RCB and I know that in my heart. What you mean to this franchise and to me cannot be put into words. The Chinnaswamy Stadium will miss cheering for you and I’m going to miss playing alongside you my brother. I love you and I’ll always be your number 1 fan. G.O.A.T @abdevilliers17”
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