Former South African cricketer AB de Villiers has expressed his wish to continue playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a few more years, having retired from international cricket earlier this year. His shock retirement after his last Test series against Australia meant de Villiers would go down in the annals of cricket history among those players who deserved to win a World Cup, but failed to achieve it.
From 2007 till his retirement earlier in 2018, de Villiers played in three World Cup tournaments but South Africa’s wait for the ultimate glory has only prolonged. “I will keep on playing IPL for a few years, and I would like to play for the Titans, and help some of the youngsters. But there are no set plans. I haven’t been able to say that for a long time,” de Villiers was quoted as saying.
He added, “Bangalore is a special place, a second home, really. I played my 100th Test there, and obviously RCB is a massive part of my life. India as a country has taken me in, and it’s hard to explain what that feels like. I just play cricket.”
De Villiers says that he has arrived at a point where he does not feel failing to win a World Cup should be the benchmark for any assessment. “For a long time, the World Cup was a massive goal. But, in the last few years, I have realised that it isn’t realistic to measure yourself purely on what you achieve in that tournament. That will not be the be-all and end-all of my career,” de Villiers said.
“Yes, I would have loved to win it, but I have great memories from World Cups. The 2007 tournament - my first - was very special. We fell short against Australia, when we tried to play too much cricket too soon, but that shift in mentality probably helped us to go over there and win the Test series we then won over there.
“Personally, I scored my first ODI century in that 2007 tournament, and I loved the whole experience of being in the Caribbean. “The same goes for the others, in 2011 and in 2015. India has always been close to my heart, because of the passion for cricket, and then obviously 2015 was an amazing game. We fell on the wrong side of it, but we gave it everything,” he explained.
The 34-year-old said that the timing of his retirement was absolutely right. “It was time. It was nothing against anyone, but I just felt the time was right. I have been playing for over 14 years, and I was tired,” he said. De Villiers said he does not need to measure his career in terms of World Cup success.
“I guess that once I acknowledged to myself that I didn’t have to measure my career on one tournament, place so much emphasis on it, it became easier to make my decision. I also didn’t want to be picking and choosing my way through fixtures from now until then. It wouldn’t be fair,” he said.