CAPE TOWN – AB de Villiers says he was “just glad that I could get through it” after announcing his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday.
But while the former Proteas captain added that he was looking forward to enjoying the December holidays, he said he was “pretty sure something will come up” in terms of playing cricket other than for the Titans in future.
De Villiers was speaking on Thursday in an interview on radio station 5FM’s Roger Goode Show.
The 34-year-old, who is arguably even more revered in India than South Africa – following his exploits for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL – said that he actually didn’t think that fans would take his decision to leave the Proteas side well.
“It was quite a tough day yesterday, and I’m just glad that I could get through it. But ja, what can I say… I will forever be grateful to the people of South Africa for their incredible support,” De Villiers said.
I’ve made a big decision today pic.twitter.com/In0jyquPOK
“I wasn’t expecting a positive response, to be honest. It was a really tough decision – I’ve been struggling with it for a while, and I’m just glad we got through it.
“Now it’s a bit of family time, and a bit of time at home – I can’t wait, hey.”
De Villiers added that part of his decision to continue playing for the Titans came after watching the likes of Aiden Markram, Lungi Ngidi and Junior Dala coming through at the franchise last season.
“(In) The T20 tournament, I really enjoyed seeing some of the youngsters playing some great cricket – Lungi Ngidi, Aiden Markram, Junior Dala...
“You’re seeing all these names come through, and I just sat back in that tournament and I thought for a while, ‘This is incredible. I’m 34 years old now, and I’ve got this incredible privilege to see some of these youngsters come through, and to actually have an opportunity to have an impact on their careers’.
“So, I had to mention that in my statement that I might still be available to play some games for the Titans. But other than that, I have absolutely no plans for the rest of the year. Just want to spend some time with my family.
“One of the first December holidays at home – I’m looking forward to that in a few months’ time. It’s just incredible, and I am a very, very blessed man.”
One of the most thrilling stroke-players in world cricket, De Villiers didn’t quite rule out a conveying those skills to others in a coaching gig in future, although he did say that he wasn’t sure it would suit him.
But while he expressed his relief at not having to deal with the red-hot pressure of the international scene, he said he may be on a different cricket field next year.
“I’ve dealt with a good amount of pressure over the years! So for the next few months, I just want to chill,” he said.
“I’m pretty sure something will come up. Look, I’m not completely retired out of all cricket. Like I said, I’m still going to play for the Titans.
“Thank you for the support throughout the years. To everyone in South Africa, it would definitely not have been possible without everyone out there. Thank you.”