Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa head coach Ottis Gibson has admitted that batsman AB de Villiers’ retirement “came as a shock to me”.
De Villiers shocked the cricketing community when he announced that he would be ending his international career as he was “tired”.
Gibson, however, admitted that De Villiers had spoken to him about his decision the day before he made it public.
“The announcement came as a shock to me,” Gibson was quoted as saying by Sport24. “We had a conversation. He called me the morning before he made the announcement, telling me what he was planning to do.
“We had a long conversation around whether he was making the right decision and he has spoken to the people closest to him and he reckons that he is.”
Gibson also conceded that De Villiers’ retirement will hinder South Africa’s chances of winning their maiden World Cup next year.
“He is one of the best players in the world. He could have made a huge difference in the World Cup and he knows that. We all know that. He’s chosen to walk away from the game and it is what it is,” Gibson added. “Yes, it’s disappointing for the country and world cricket that AB de Villiers isn’t playing cricket anymore.
“I don’t believe he can be replaced, but it gives an opportunity for somebody else to put their hand up. There is a space there that somebody can fill now.”
When asked if he would make De Villiers part of his coaching staff, Gibson was quoted by The Citizen as saying: “If he expresses an interest and there’s a position for him, then of course. I would imagine a guy like him would have massive knowledge to pass on to players.
“Whenever he’s been around at practice, he’s always talking to young guys like Aiden Markram and Temba Bavuma. They’ve learnt a lot from him. If the opportunity would arise, I would jump at it.”