Allan Donald believes AB de Villiers’ retirement has reduced the Proteas’ chances of success in the 2019 World Cup.
After a 14-year career, De Villiers’ unexpected retirement shocked Donald and the entire cricket world.
‘AB’s a massive, enormous loss,’ said Donald, talking at an event to mark one year to go until the start of the World Cup.
‘I spoke to him about six months ago and he was pretty adamant he wanted to play in the World Cup. So, I half-expected him to give South Africa real hope that they could win the World Cup,’ said the former Proteas bowling coach.
‘I don’t think they are totally out of it. But with AB de Villiers in the team, they would have had a huge chance.
‘But it’s his choice and I respect that. He just said he was tired, He has a very young family, and maybe he just realised it was his time now. It happens to all of us. And that you’ve got to respect.
‘He’s given South Africa plenty, he has won many games off the back of his own bat. His brilliance, his flair, it will be missed. And it will hurt South Africa not having him here next year.
‘But it’s also a hugely selfless decision. Knowing AB he’s as dead-on as they come. He can walk away with his head held high. He’s achieved everything in the game.’
The former Proteas bowler also believes Eoin Morgan’s captaincy gives the England side an aggressive edge and that it will give them a competitive advantage, especially with the tournament taking place on their home ground and Wales.
‘I really do feel that if ever they [England] had the chance to win a World Cup, it’s definitely now,’ Donald told Sky Sports News
‘I reckon in their own backyard they will be very tough to beat. The way they take on one-day internationals now, it’s a different England from the one I’ve seen.
‘I’ll be honest, given what I faced back in the day, I wouldn’t have thought they could get to this point. But there’s something about them that I like.
‘They play a very aggressive brand of one-day cricket. And my gut feeling is that they will go a long way in this World Cup.
‘The skill is stupendous for most teams now. But England for me, through Eoin Morgan and the coaching staff, have brought a different beast to it.’