After the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), South Africa star batsman AB de Villiers, shocked the entire cricketing universe by announcing his retirement from all formats of the game.
De Villiers’ exit left a massive void in the South African cricket team set up, as their performances came spiralling down across formats.
Since his retirement from international cricket, De Villiers focussed solely on franchise cricket and featured in all top leagues across the world.
Meanwhile, former Proteas’ captain Faf du Plessis was left reeling with a team, which struggled to cope up during the transitional phase. Especially with the successive retirement of their stalwarts.
Now, Du Plessis has opened up about the reason why he didn’t opt to convince De Villiers to make a comeback from his retirement.
“When AB left, it was really tough for me, because I depended a lot on him, as a friend, and obviously as the best player in the team; we needed his skills,” Faf told Ravichandran Ashwin on his YouTube channel.
“So that conversation was… when he said that to me, said he was done. He was finished with international cricket. As a friend, my first instinct was, ‘I’m here for you, and I’ll support you, if you feel like you’re at the end of your career and you don’t want to do it anymore, then that’s okay – I support that decision 100 per cent’“, he added.
The friend in me trumped the captain in me: Du Plessis
South Africa was the first team to be eliminated from the group stages of the 2019 World Cup. Their woes were deepened with the controversy regarding AB’s availability for selections, ahead of the World Cup in England.
However, coach Otis Gibson, along with the then captain Du Plessis, turned down De Villiers’ final effort to make a comeback into the team.
Du Plessis, at that time, provided clarification on the controversy which emerged during the multilateral tournament in 2019.
He reckoned that De Villiers’ inclusion in the team would be unjust for the bunch of cricketers in the team, who established themselves for the high-profile tournament.
“As a captain, I was like – ‘how do we move forward without AB, how do we get the same performances?’ But the friend in me trumped the captain in me. And I just said, ‘We’re going to miss you, are you sure?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I am 100 per cent sure, I don’t want to play international cricket anymore. I don’t have the drive to do it anymore. So I am stopping‘,” Du Plessis said.
“I respected that immediately and left it there. I never ever after that tried to convince him again, because I respected what he said. Even at times when we desperately needed him,” Du Plessis concluded.