• Philander ‘a bit surprised’ AB called it quits

    Former teammate Vernon Philander has expressed surprise at batsman AB de Villiers’ decision to retire from international cricket earlier this year.

    De Villiers ended a prolific Proteas career in May, after scoring more than 20,000 runs across 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is since his debut in February 2005.

    ‘I was a bit surprised to be honest with you, but AB had played a lot of cricket. Myself and AB came a long way together – we were teammates for the South African Under-19 side in 2003. We have a strong bond,’ Philander told Sport24.

    ‘With the amount of cricket he was playing and all the pressure on him, I think he just thought the time was right to call it a day internationally, with all upcoming fixtures for South Africa. He probably got to a stage where it was either going to be family or cricket, and he chose the former.

    ‘You have got to give it to the guy – he served his country with immense pride and you couldn’t ask anything more of him. There is a time in all of our careers when enough is enough.’

    The talented right-hander will continue to play in domestic Twenty20 tournaments around the world, including the Indian Premier League and Pakistan Super League. He, too, intends to keep playing for South African franchise, the Titans.

    ‘I truly believe that players who tell you they don’t feel the pressure of international cricket, of being away from home for months at a time, are lying to everyone and themselves. I was prepared to embrace it, to fight the pressure, but it certainly takes its toll after a while,’ de Villiers said last month.

    ‘I feel there is room for players to be more honest about it, having systems in place to make sure they keep fresh and mentally healthy. I was certainly not mentally ill at the time, but I can relate to the fact that the pressure can really drive you down, and make you so tired.’

    Image: Getty

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    Jonhenry Wilson