AB de Villiers, on Tuesday (May 23), shocked the cricketing world by retiring from international cricket with immediate effect. One of the finest batsmen of all time, de Villiers said that he was tired and wanted to step out while still at the top.

“After 114 test matches, 228 one day internationals and 78 T20 internationals it is time for others to take over. I’ve had my turn and to be honest I’m tired,” he said in a video message on Twitter.

“This is a tough decision, I have thought long and hard about it and I’d like to retire while still playing decent cricket. After the fantastic (test) series wins against India and Australia, now feels like the right time to step aside.

“It would not be right for me to pick and choose where, when and in what format I play for the Proteas. For me, in the green and gold, it must be everything or nothing,” he added.

The 34-year old enjoyed a stellar international career that spanned well over a decade. His stunning exploits on the cricket field made him one of the most loved cricket stars across the globe.

Credits: AFP

De Villiers retires with a test average of 50.66 and as the fourth-highest scorer for South Africa with 8,765 runs. He made 22 test centuries and also took 222 catches and five stumpings. Overall, he scored a staggering 20,014 international runs (8765 in Tests, 9577 in ODIs and 1672 in T20Is). He also finished his career with a batting average over 50 in both Tests, and ODIs.

The right-hander also holds the record for the fastest 50, fastest 100 and fastest 150 in ODIs, all coming against West Indies. He smashed a 31-ball 100 in Johannesburg in 2015 and hit a 66-ball 162 in the 2015 World Cup encounter in Sydney.

De Villiers’ career was in jeopardy after he had taken an indefinite break from Tests last year. However, he returned towards the end of the last year to represent the Proteas in the longest format of the game. He played an integral role in South Africa’s win over India and Australia.  It was widely expected that de Villiers would at least play the next World Cup. But being as unpredictable as his shots, he decided to call it a day.

Credits: AFP

His decision has left the cricketing world in utter disbelief. And not surprisingly, from cricketers, past and present to fans, are paying tributes to one of the modern-greats. Pakistan allrounder Shoaib Malik also paid his tribute and it was as heart-touching as it could get.

He took to Twitter to urge AB not to go with a broken heart emoji, writing:

“AB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tussi na jao ? (AB, you don’t go)”