'Mr 360' De Villiers retires after going full circle
AB de Villiers had felt rejuvenated after returning from a long Test hiatus but 'Mr 360' went full circle by announcing his international retirement.
The former South Africa captain has made a career out of raising eyebrows with his batting exploits and he delivered a bolt from the blue by ending his Proteas career on Wednesday.
De Villiers said he was "tired" and "running out of gas" after playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League so soon after a Test series victory over Australia.
The 34-year-old only returned from Test cricket last December following an absence of almost two years and said he felt like he was 23 again as he piled on the runs in series victories against India and Australia on home soil.
He declared he was in the best form of his life during a fruitful Test series against Virat Kohli's top-ranked side and took a strong Australia attack apart with a magnificent unbeaten century at Port Elizabeth.
De Villiers produced more maverick knocks in the IPL, showing no signs of fatigue.
And he had talked of his motivation to inspire the Proteas to World Cup glory in 2019, so it is ironic that the Johannesburg Test against Australia will be the last time he is seen at international level.
The likes of Herschelle Gibbs and Ashwell Prince had been critical of De Villiers for picking and choosing which format he would play in during a break from Tests due to injury, burnout and a desire to spend more time with his family.
"I haven't retired, no. But I'm not going to change my decision. I'll look indecisive," De Villiers said last year before making his Test comeback.
De Villiers, also a magnificent fielder and more than handy as a wicketkeeper, has now decided it would not right to pick and choose. He has finally made his mind up.
One of the great entertainers recently spoke of the disparity between money earned by centrally contracted England and Australia players compared to South Africa internationals, saying he could not turn down the IPL riches.
He said in a video posting on Twitter to announce his retirement: "It's not about earning more somewhere else, it's about running out of gas and it is time to move on. Everything comes to an end."
Experiencing the intensity of Test cricket and the pressure cooker of the IPL in such a short space of time have clearly made him realise that it is one or the other.
De Villiers will be a huge loss to the international game, but his decision should be respected after a remarkable 14-year South Africa career.