On 23rd May 2018 evening, AB de Villiers shocked the cricketing fraternity by announcing retirement from all forms of international cricket in an emotional video.
Known as 360 degrees, as he can hit the ball in all directions from the batting crease, AB de Villiers entertained the cricket world by his innovative batting. He was comfortably playing sweeps, reverses sweeps of the fast bowlers and equally played well mastering by international cricket during 2018 test series against India and Australia.
South Africa’s legend made his test debut against England in 2004. During his test career, he played many memorable knocks for South Africa. His best knock came against Pakistan scoring 278 not out and holds the record for the second highest individual score by South African batsman in the longer format.
Chasing 414 runs in a first test match against Australia in Australia during 2008 tour, AB de Villiers scored a match-winning century of 106 not out against a top quality attack which included Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle that helped South Africa chase down the second ever fourth innings score. This was first ever tested wins for South Africa in Australia in 15 years.
In April 2008, AB de Villiers scored his first ever double century against India scoring 217 at Motera, Ahmedabad. India was bowled out for a paltry total of 90. AB de Villiers smashed the Indian top spinners Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble alike. The mammoth first innings score led to an innings and 90 runs win. He has an individual South African record of 6 test centuries against Australia.
He was assigned the full-time wicketkeeping duties for South Africa in 2010 July as Mark Boucher their regular wicketkeeper suffered injuries. He is the only wicketkeeper, to score a century and effect 5 or more dismissals in each innings of the test versus Pakistan in Johannesburg in February 2013. That match performance included 11 catches and scores of 31 and 103. His overall fielding and wicketkeeping records include 222 catches and 5 stumpings in test matches.
As a batsman, he managed to score 1000 test runs or more in a calendar year twice in 2005 and 2008. In-home test series, AB de Villiers played a total of 66 matches and scored 4788 runs with an average of 47.40, with the highest score of 163, making 13 centuries and 28 half-centuries. Outside South Africa, de Villiers scored 3977 runs in 48 matches with an average of 55.23. His best score in test matches outside South Africa was 278*. AB de Villiers played a total of 114 test matches and scored 8765 runs with an outstanding average of 50.66 with 22 centuries and 46 half-centuries.
The legend was named as the captain of the side after the second test in South Africa. He stepped down from captaincy due to an elbow injury in 2016. Later he was struggling with his injuries and was not a regular part of the playing XI. He came to limelight again as he played key roles in helping South Africa win home test series against India and Australia in 2018.
AB de Villiers made his One-day international debut for South Africa in 2005 against England. His first major tournament was the World Cup in 2007. He scored his maiden ODI century by scoring 146 off 130 balls that included 5 sixes and 12 fours in Super 8 game of 2007 World Cup against West Indies. Even in ODI format, he kept wickets and also a terrific fielder for South Africa with a record of 176 catches and 5 stumpings.
In 2011 50 over World Cup held in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, AB de Villiers became the first South African batsman to score 2 successive centuries.
AB de Villiers has been a star for South African ODI format. He holds the record of scoring the fastest half-century, century and 150 in ODI history. The South African legend scored 50 off 16 balls against West Indies in Johannesburg in 2015, 100 off 31 balls versus West Indies in Johannesburg in 2015 and 150 off 64 balls versus West Indies in World Cup game at SCG in 2005.
He was one of the top run-getter in the World Cup 2015 scoring 482 runs but could not help South Africa to reach finals of the prestigious tournament. During his ODI career, he played many sensational knocks including 149 off 44 against West Indies in Johannesburg on Jan 18, 2015, 162 off 66 balls during the 2015 World Cup game against West Indies on 27th February 2015.
In the deciding of ODI Series against India at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, de Villiers smashed 119 off 61 balls and helped win the series. He is the only batsman in ODI’s to average 50 plus in 7 successive years from 2009 to 2015.
He has scored most runs and centuries for South Africa in World Cups with 1207 runs from 22 innings at 63.52. He is one of eight batsmen to score centuries against all older full member nations excludes Ireland and Afghanistan. Ricky Pointing, Herschelle Gibbs, Sachin Tendulkar, Hashim Amla, Virat Kohli, Ross Taylor, Upul Tharanga are the other 7 batsmen to score centuries.
AB de Villiers was the number 1 ODI batsman in the rankings. On June 6, 2011, AB de Villiers was named as the ODI captain. He enjoys a successive ODI captain with 59 wins, 39 losses, 1 tied and 4 no result game from 103 games. After the losses in Champions Trophy 2017 and England series, AB de Villiers decided to step down from captaincy. As a player and also a captain, the greatest batsman of all time, AB de Villiers has never won a World Cup.
He played a total of 228 ODI matches and scored 9577 runs with an average of 53.50, 25 centuries and 53 half-centuries. His best score in ODI format was 176 against Bangladesh. AB de Villiers did a great job for South Africa according to the situation and smashed the opposition bowlers at his will and wish.
AB de Villiers made his T20I debut for South Africa in 2006 against Australia. He played a total of 78 T20Is and scored 1672 runs with an average of 26.12 with only 10 half centuries with the best score of 79*. The South African legend was a brilliant fielder and wicketkeeper in this format also with 65 catches and 7 stumpings.
His contribution in Indian Premier League is also illustrious, playing for Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore. For the first 3 years, since 2008 he played for Delhi Daredevils and since 2011 has been playing for RCB. Overall in 11 seasons, playing 141 matches has scored 3953 runs with an average of 39.53. Over a decade, he has scored 3 centuries and 28 half-centuries.
He is one of the most loved cricketers all over the world especially India. With the World Cup 2019 coming up, AB de Villiers would be a big loss for South Africa and their hopes of winning a major trophy.