AB de Villiers has revealed that he played the last two years of his career with a detached retina.
The Proteas batsman retired from international cricket in May 2018, but continued to play T20 franchise cricket before retiring from all forms of the game in November 2021.
In an interview with Wisden Cricket Monthly magazine, the 39-year-old spoke of an eye injury he had sustained in this period.
“My youngster accidentally kicked me on my eye with his heel. I started really losing vision in the right eye.
“When I got the surgery done the doctor actually asked me, ‘How in the world did you play cricket like this?’. Luckily my left eye did a decent job for the last two years of my career.”
De Villiers also explained why he did not come out of international retirement to play for the Proteas again.
“Covid certainly played a role, there’s no doubt about it. From an international perspective, that 2015 World Cup hurt big time. It took me a while to get over that and then, when I got back into the side and I was ready to commit, I didn’t feel the same culture that I really needed at that time.
“I often found myself thinking, I don’t know, eh? Could this be the end of my career? I didn’t even really want to play IPL or anything else. I got away from everything in 2018 and then decided to push one more time with a bit of Test cricket, to try and beat India and Australia over here, and then I’ll call it. I didn’t want any spotlight on me. I just wanted to say, ‘I had a great time, thank you very much’.”