AB de Villiers refused a request to hold off announcing his retirement and declined an invitation to discuss the issue, said Cricket South Africa’s acting CEO, Thabang Moroe.
‘He didn’t really give me much time or any opportunity to try and change his mind, said Moroe, who received a call from De Villiers while he was in Cape Town for contract negotiations with the SA Cricketers’ Association.
‘I was shocked, and I didn’t know how to react to it, other than to tell him that I respect his decision.
‘I asked him to hang ten, because I was in Cape Town. He explained that he was willing to talk about it yesterday already, which is why he called me because he was hoping to come to the office. I wanted him to wait so we could meet face-to-face in Johannesburg. He wasn’t willing to wait, which was pretty strange.
‘I respected the fact that he called me and I appreciated it.’
De Villiers made the surprise announcement in a video on his social media pages on Wednesday morning, shortly after his call to the acting CEO. He said he was ‘tired’ after 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20 Internationals.
‘It is time for others to take over,’ he said. ‘I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired. This is a tough decision, I have thought long and hard about it and I’d like to retire while still playing decent cricket.’
Moroe said in an interview with Sport24 that there was nothing CSA could offer to keep their star batsman in the team.
‘What is it that AB would want? Because as important as he is as a player, at some point you need to draw the line in terms of what it is that you can give your players. And what happens if a guy like Kagiso [Rabada] says that he wants to retire from international cricket tomorrow? Must we offer him the same thing?
‘To be quite fair to AB, he never asked for anything. All he asked for was for me to support his decision.’
He added that De Villiers had told him he had been sitting on the decision for five months, but not even his captain Faf du Plessis knew it was coming when it did.
‘Before the guys left for the IPL, I had a chat with Faf talking about the future of the Proteas as well as the senior guys in the team,’ Moroe said. ‘Faf told me that there was nothing to worry about and that we will talk when he comes back from the IPL, but that as far as the senior players were concerned, they are all committed, and we would talk about exit strategies and their plans after the World Cup.
‘I thought we still had time.’