The announcement by South African cricket legend A B De Villiers to suddenly retire from all forms of International cricket citing feeling ‘Tired’ has stunned all. ABD as he is fondly called may not have won any ICC Trophy in his awesome career but that does not in any sense indicate that he did not have any impact. The impact was phenomenal to be precise.
He was truly the 360 degree player playing shots which others can only dream of . He was lighting quick between the wickets, fast hands and an outstanding fielder . He could play shots all around the wickets with ease and attack as well as defend according to situation. He was a success in all formats of the game- Tests, ODI, T20.
He was an entertainer as well. Where ever he played round the world , De Villiers was a sure shot crowd – puller. People loved him for his dazzling batting exploits , athletic fielding , these attributes made him popular.
People talk of Chris Gayle’s power hitting ability in T20’s but tend to forget, that when it comes to consistency and runs in all formats, ABD towers above the Universal Boss Gayle. Gayle no doubt has brute force , but De Villiers too is equally if not more devastating than Gayle. When AB cuts loose then stadiums tend too become small and bowlers look ordinary .
When he plays in the IPL chants of ABD , ABD echo from the stands in stadiums wherever his team ( RCB) plays . This is a huge achievement for a foreign player in a country where cricketers are hailed as demi- gods and the game a religion . This is the power and charisma of A B De Villiers.
Now that he has retired there will endless stats , debates, scores and comparisons with other greats of the game but there is a attribute which i feel made him such a popular player over the years – his affable persona.
AB De Villiers the player was likeable because he never in his career gave any hints of arrogance. He played in the right spirit and exhibited impeccable sportsmanship conduct on and off the field . He was a great ambassador of his country and of the game. He had that ever smiling face always . He did not go overboard when victorious and when he lost he took the defeat in his stride.
ABD bids adieu to the game just a year before the ICC World Cup in England 2019. But he leaves behind lots of happy memories . He has given all cricket lovers the world over superb entertainment over the years . Leaving us all in awe and forcing all to stand up an applaud his cricketing genius.
Players will come and go , but ABD is clearly once in a generation player. A genius in his own right . There is no one like him and nor will anyone be like him . The apt tributes to him by former players and current players after his retirement announcement indicates how much he was loved , respected and held in high esteem by his team- mates , rivals and was an inspiration to several young cricketers.
Thank you A B De Villiers for the sheer thrill and excitement you have given us with your sensational cricket . It was sheer joy to watch you showcasing your batting prowess over the years. World cricket and South African cricket will miss a legend because you were someone really special . And when a special player quits the void becomes difficult to fill .