Virat Kohli led the social media world in paying tribute to AB de Villiers, who announced his retirement from all formats of cricket on Friday. After retiring from international cricket in 2018, de Villiers had continued to ply his trade across T20 franchise cricket, especially for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
With the announcement, de Villiers ends his decade-long association with RCB, scoring 4,491 runs in 156 matches. He finished as the second highest run-getter for the side behind Virat Kohli.
De Villiers, who represented Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) before joining RCB, has finished his IPL career as the sixth highest run-getter with 5,162 runs in 184 matches at an average of 39.70 and strike rate of 151.68. It also includes three centuries and 40 half-centuries, with the best of 133 not out coming against Mumbai Indians in 2015.
Reacting to the news, Kohli, who recently stepped down from RCB’s captaincy, wrote on Twitter, “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. 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. (Broken heart) I love you.”
Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who played alongside de Villiers in IPL 2021, commented, “Glad I got to share the field with one of the greatest players of all time, and an amazing human too!! Changed cricket forever (Raising hands) #legend.”
South Africa batter Faf du Plessis wrote, “Well done @ABdeVilliers17 on a special career. I’ve been extremely lucky to be on the same cricket field as you. The game will not be the same without you. The greatest player I have played with. (Goat emoji).”
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan commented, “Definitely a kind of relief for myself and all the bowlers. Thank you soo much for the great memories and inspiring soo many of youngsters including me . We will definitely Miss you Mr 360 @abdevilliers17 (two Red hearts and two Raising hands).”
India batter Shreyas Iyer tweeted, “Looked up to in my early cricket days and it’s been an honour to play against you (Smiling face with smiling eyes) Good luck @ABdeVilliers17 and thank you for everything you’ve done for cricket (Clapping hands sign).”
India opener Shikhar Dhawan wrote, “Your contribution to cricket has been immense @ABdeVilliers17 (Raising hands) A true legend of this beautiful game and a wonderful athlete. Good luck for whatever the future has in store for you (Smiling face with smiling eyes).”
Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan commented, “The thought of ABD not playing cricket, not a happy one! Thank you for making this game of cricket even more beautiful while playing @ABdeVilliers17 #retirement.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote, “Absolutely loved watching @ABdeVilliers17 play the game .. You could argue across all formats that he was as good on the eye of anyone who has played the game .. #ABDevilliers #Legend.”
Former Zimbabwe cricketer turned commentator Mpumelelo Mbangwa commented, “Congrats on a great career and all the best with the next, AB. All the best.”
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, a keen cricket enthusiast, tweeted, “What a legacy, one of my favorites to watch ever!”