‘I believe I have a role to play in SA': ex-Proteas captain AB de Villiers

Former Proteas captain AB de Villiers wants to give back to cricket in the country.
Former Proteas captain AB de Villiers wants to give back to cricket in the country.
Image: Philip Brown/Getty Images

Former Proteas captain AB de Villiers may be unsure of his immediate future but believes  he has a role to play in SA cricket.

De Villiers, who holds the records for the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODIs, retired from all forms of cricket in November having scored an astonishing 20,017 international runs across all formats.

During his highly successful international career that spanned more than 16 years, the 37-year-old De Villiers featured in 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20s for the Proteas where at times he doubled up as wicketkeeper.

“I still believe that I have a role to play in SA cricket and also over there in the IPL with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB),” he said.

“I have no idea what will come next but I will take it one day at a time and see. I have been looking after and mentoring some youngsters with potential and ability for the last few years.

“No one knows about it and hopefully I can look back one day in the future knowing that I have made a big difference in the lives of a few players. That is my focus for now and I don’t know if it’s going to be professional or on a casual basis, but we will see where we go with that.”

De Villiers also elaborated on the reasons that led to his retirement from the sport.

“I have had some personal challenges and they’ve got a lot to do with balancing the priorities in life. Having to go to the IPL twice last year where we had to deal with a lot of travelling restrictions, Covid-19 testing, missed and cancelled flights, and having to organise school for the kids was very challenging.

“I decided over the past few years that I am not going to travel without my kids any more and the split IPL really made it very complicated. Probably the biggest challenge was to stay sane, motivated and keeping the energy.

“I also picked up Covid-19 at some stage and I was really sick for 10 to 12 days and luckily I got through it. Those were the challenges and there were basic stresses of life with the pandemic floating around.

“By a long way, the travelling arrangements and the IPL have been the biggest challenge this year and finding that energy to still want to be the best in the world was difficult.”

De Villiers said the increasing challenges brought about by Covid-19 led to him not enjoying the game any more.

“Cricketing wise, it has been coming for quite some time, it’s always been about enjoyment for me. And the minute where I felt the difficulty of travelling and being there at the IPL for two and half to three months a year, specifically with this one that was spilt into two, bubbles and this and that made things very complicated with regards to cricket and the enjoyment thereof.

“I found myself on the park where scoring runs and doing well for the team didn’t really match with everything that goes with it any more and that’s where the balance started leading towards hanging my gloves up.

“I have never been the guy who is going to push every single bit of energy of my ability and my cricketing skill, I have always played for the enjoyment of the game. And the minute that sort of started going down, I knew it was time for me to move on.”



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