South African star AB de Villiers retires from all cricket

AB de Villiers has retired from all forms of cricket. ©AFP

Johannesburg (AFP) - South African great AB de Villiers retired from all forms of cricket on Friday, saying that the "flame no longer burns so brightly".

The veteran batsman, who stopped playing internationals in 2018, tweeted: "It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket.

"Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. 

"Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly."

Praise poured in for de Villiers, with former South African captain Graeme Smith calling him "probably the best player across all three formats that I played with or against in my career".

De Villiers played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20 internationals for South Africa, scoring more than 20,000 runs across the three formats.

He spent a decade at Royal Challengers Bangalore and featured alongside the likes of India great Virat Kohli at the IPL franchise.

"To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB my brother," Kohli tweeted. 

"Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.

"This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done.I love you," he added.

The outfit's chairman Prathmesh Mishra also paid tribute to De Villiers.

"AB de Villiers has been among the best ambassadors of the game, and we are honoured to have him represent RCB in the IPL," Mishra said in a statement.

"His work ethics have been impeccable, which has not only rubbed off on the team, but has left a high benchmark for other youngsters to follow. 

AB has been a true leader, both on and off the field and we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for his tireless commitment in helping RCB establish itself as one of the premier franchises in the IPL," he added.

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