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Former South Africa spinner Pay Symcox has admitted that he was less than impressed with the timing of AB de Villiers’ decision to retire from international cricket.
De Villiers shocked the cricketing world last week when he announced that he would be ending his international career.
Symcox feels that the 34-year-old’s abrupt decision to retire indicates that he lost his passion for representing his country.
“I am extremely disappointed that AB de Villiers has called time on his international career,” Symcox wrote in a column for sacricketmag.com. “He has always talked up his passion to play for the Proteas and it seems to me this decision flies in the face of that.
“Over the years I have spoken to AB many times and he comes across as a wonderful guy. His love for South Africa and his passion to play for the national team have always been palpable, so his decision to step aside tells me that the passion is suddenly no longer there.
“It’s a very sad day for South African cricket.”
Many expected De Villiers to call it quits after the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales next year, but now that he has hung up his boots, South Africa have been dealt a major blow ahead of the event, which they have never won before.
“De Villiers has done a lot for South Africa over the course of his 14-year career but, equally, South Africa has done a lot for him as well,” Symcox wrote. “I’m disappointed in the way that he has gone about his retirement, as I believe he has missed a trick and could have done it in a more opportune way.
“If AB was truly sensitive to what the supporters were expecting, he would have announced his decision sooner, played a farewell game and been given a proper send-off, as is the norm. However, he is clearly not too fazed.
“To my mind, De Villiers’ sudden retirement shouts: ‘Cheers, I’m out of here and to hell with the World Cup too.’”
De Villiers is arguably the best batsman South Africa has ever produced, but Symcox thinks otherwise.
“I wouldn’t say he is the best we have ever had – Graeme Pollock and Barry Richards hold that honour – but he was as good a batsman as we have seen since South Africa’s sporting readmission,” the 58-year-old wrote.