Proteas’ batting hero AB de Villiers has called time on his spectacular international cricketing career, announcing his retirement from all international cricket with immediate effect. We would like to pay tribute to our cricketing star who scored runs for fun by taking a look back at his amazing, entertaining career.
AB de Villiers was one of the world’s finest, most versatile batsmen, across all three formats of the game. De Villiers had the ability to take any bowling attack apart with his wide variety of strokes and his very competitive mindset. The world’s best bowling attacks feared what he could do to them when he was in form.
AB played a total of 420 international matches for South Africa. 114 of those were test matches, 228 were One Day Internationals and 78 were T20 Internationals. He scored a total of 20014 runs (8765 test runs, 9577 ODI runs and 1672 T20 runs). De Villiers has also taken 2 test wickets and 7 ODI wickets.
AB was a brilliant fielder, he also occasionally kept wicket for the Proteas. In test matches he took 222 catches and made 5 stumpings both behind the wicket and elsewhere in the field. In ODIs he took 176 catches and made 5 stumpings. In T20 Internationals AD took 65 catches and made 7 stumpings.
AB de Villiers hails from Bela Bela, Limpopo. He grew up playing cricket with his brothers in their back yard. He went to high school in Pretoria alongside Proteas teammate Faf du Plessis. Besides cricket, AB also excelled at tennis and rugby – he is a true all-round sportsman!
De Villiers made his Test debut as a 20-year-old on 16 December 2004 against England in Port Elizabeth. In the second test match of that series he scored a fantastic 52 runs in just his fourth innings for the Proteas with the bat, saving South Africa from what looked like certain defeat. He also scored his first test century in that series on his home ground in Centurion. He then amassed 460 runs in his first away tour against the West Indies in 2005. He wasted no time showing the world what he was capable of.
AB de Villiers holds the second-highest individual test score by a South African batsman with 278* runs. He achieved this against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in November 2010. The record belongs to teammate Hashim Alma with 311 runs*.
AB de Villiers holds the world records for the fastest 50 in ODIs (16 balls) and the fastest 100 in ODIs (31 balls). AB achieved these feats in a very memorable Pink ODI on 18 January 2015 where all the proceeds from the match went to charity. That was a record breaking ODI as the Proteas amassed their highest ODI total score of 439/2 and defeated the West Indies by 148 runs. De Villiers’ innings included 9 fours and 16 sixes!
De Villiers also holds the fastest hundred by a South African batsman in test matches and the fastest 50 by a South African batsman in T20Is
AB De Villiers became the second-youngest and the second-fastest South African to reach 1,000 test runs after South African legend Graeme Pollock.
One of the many highlights of AB de Villiers’ career came during a test series in Australia during the 2012-13 season. With South Africa struggling to save the Adelaide Test match against Australia, de Villiers curbed his natural instincts and batted his way to a 220-ball 33 runs in a very exciting draw of, along with teammate Faf du Plessis. In the next Test at the WACA, his alter-ego showed up and he brutally smashed the red ball around the park to score a quick 169 runs from only 184 balls (a fast rate for test cricket) as South Africa triumphed over Australia.
Another highlight of his career happened when de Villiers took 11 catches against Pakistan in Johannesburg during the 2012-13 season, equalling the record for most number of catches by a wicket-keeper in a test match. He shares the record with the former England wicketkeeper, Jack Russell. AB also scored an unbeaten 103 runs during South Africa’s second innings, becoming the first wicketkeeper to score a century and claim 10 dismissals in a test match.
During the 2015 World Cup AB de Villiers scored 162 runs off 66 balls against the West Indies leading the Proteas to their second highest total in world cup history – 408 runs. With this feat, de Villiers also became the record holder for the fastest 150 in ODI history.
AB de Villiers has made a massive impact on the international cricket world, in the Proteas setup, and in the lives of his teammates and cricket fans around the world. AB de Villiers will be sorely missed in the Proteas batting line-up! However, join us in wishing him all the best in his future endeavours!