Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith has admitted that the Proteas have been dealt a big blow as AB de Villiers is “irreplaceable”.
De Villiers stunned the cricketing community when he announced his retirement from international cricket last week.
Like many others, Smith thought that De Villiers would have hung up his boots after the 2019 World Cup, which will be held in England and Wales.
To put the enormity of De Villiers’ retirement into perspective, Smith believes it would be similar to India losing captain Virat Kohli.
“I thought definitely he would retire after the 2019 World Cup,” he said. “But when he made his comeback and did so well in the home summer in South Africa, had a really good IPL, I didn’t even think about it.
“To lose a player like AB, he’s irreplaceable. There are also quality players there but it’s like taking Virat Kohli out of the Indian team. SA lose an X-factor player, who can single-handedly win you a game.
“Ultimately people will be very disappointed because they are going to miss him, just because he was that brilliant. They wanted to see him play more.”
Smith believes that the constant pressure and time away from home could have been two of the biggest contributing factors as to why De Villiers decided to end his international career.
“There are not many players who have played for 14-15 years that can travel nine, 10, 11 months a year, deal with the pressures, plus the family pressures, it’s very, very difficult,” Smith said. “The guy has played international cricket for around 15 years… More than anything he has the right to decide when he’s had enough. He will have his own reasons for that, you got to respect that.”