AB de Villiers, one of the finest batsmen in the history of the game, hung up his boots on Wednesday (May 23).

The decision left the whole world shell-shocked, as it came without any prior notice or knowledge of anyone.

De Villiers’ international career was pretty much derailed last year when he took an indefinite break from Test cricket. However, he later returned to the team and played an integral role in series wins over India and Australia this year. It was widely speculated the star batsman would at least play in the 2019 World Cup.

However, he left one and all surprised by retiring from international cricket with immediate effect. Explaining the reason behind the decision, he said he was tired and wanted to step out while still at the top.

He confirmed in a video on that he had played his last game for South Africa.

“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.

De Villiers enjoyed a stellar international career that spanned 14 years. His batting and fielding exploits on the cricket field made him one of the most loved cricket stars across the globe.

Credits: AFP

De Villiers retired 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 the Windies. He smashed a 31-ball 100 in Johannesburg in 2015 and hit a 66-ball 162 in the 2015 World Cup encounter in Sydney.

Ever since the news broke out, the cricketing world has been busy paying tribute to the modern day legend. And India head coach, Ravi Shastri also made sure to do his bit. The former India allrounder took to Twitter to hail de Villiers, writing:

“Brilliant player. Did wonders for the modern era of the game. A thorough gentleman and role model to millions. Take a bow ABD. @ABdeVilliers17”