De Villiers to keep playing in the IPL
Star South African batsman AB De Villiers has announced that he intends to play in the Indian Premier League for a “few more years”. The 34 year old announced his shock retirement from the international game in May, surprising everyone who thought he should’ve had one final crack at the 2019 ODI World Cup- a tournament that has brought the Proteas plenty of heartbreak despite their stellar performances in it.
De Villiers has been one of the stars of the IPL since its inception, first playing for Delhi DareDevils and then for Royal Challengers Bangalore, where Indian captain Virat Kohli is his teammate. His exploits are the stuff of legend-right from the way he dismantled teammate Dale Steyn back in 2012, to his superman like catch this year. However, in a way, RCB’s fortunes have mirrored that of the South African cricket team at major tournaments- good individual performances from De Villiers and the rest, but never quite enough to win the whole thing.
De Villiers choosing to continue playing in the IPL comes as no surprise- he is one of the best paid players in the league and enjoys immense popularity in the country, perhaps only behind Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. One could even say the subcontinent, and India in particular, adore De Villiers more than folks back in his native South Africa, where the batsman has been in some circles seen as stalling the transformation process that has deeply divided the nation.
This means that De Villiers will now play for both the Titans domestically and the IPL, and he revealed to the Independent that there are other offers from across on the world on his table. Apart from the IPL, De Villiers has only played in the CPL, but there will be a host of well paying leagues bidding to get his signature, right from the Big Bash in Australia to the PSL in Pakistan.
De Villiers was effectively the difference between South Africa and their opponents in their test series against India and Australia at home- despite being away from the longest format of the game for more than a year, he was easily the best batsman on show. As the folks at thecricketblog.info reckon, AB’s retirement will leave a massive void, with pressure on Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla, no spring chickens themselves, to shoulder the burden, before the likes of Theunis de Bruyn and Aiden Markram fully establish themselves.