Former Proteas captain AB de Villiers urged eventual successor Faf du Plessis not to sign a second Kolpak contract in 2010.
Du Plessis played for Lancashire – and almost joined a second county prior to January 2011’s ODI debut against India at Newlands in Cape Town.
‘There was a moment when he was thinking of signing for one of the English counties. He did call me up, and said what do I think about it? I said listen, not a long time from now there will be a few retirements, a few guys will step down, and you’re pretty close. And the coaches and the team are talking about you, so just hang in a little bit longer,’ de Villiers told Indian YouTube channel Breakfast with Champions.
‘And finally the breakthrough came. I’m not taking credit for that, but we did have that conversation. And I’m very happy I was straight up with him. He waited a bit longer. It happened quite quickly for me. A couple of doors opened up, and I put my hand up at the right time. The path he walked was a different one, but it set him up perfectly for international cricket. I think he was mentally in a great space when he finally made his debut.’
De Villiers retired from international cricket last year, but continues to play in domestic T20 competitions like the Bangladesh, Premier League, Pakistan Super League and Indian Premier League.
‘I was keen to play in the World Cup, but I left, I retired. There’s a lot of reasons I had to move on. Family’s definitely a big part of it. And the longevity of my career, I played for 15 years and I was just tired of the whole international scene,’ added de Villiers.
‘It’s quite busy. Very stressful. And the mental game, the doubts you have as a person and as a player, it wears you down. And being captain of the Proteas for a long time also took its toll. And then there are a few deeper issues that might have to be discussed when I’m 50, one day.’