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Graeme Smith lauds AB de Villiers as in a ‘class of his own’

20 November 2021 - 10:03
AB de Villiers has retired from all forms of cricket.
AB de Villiers has retired from all forms of cricket.
Image: Philip Brown/Getty Images

Cricket SA (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith has lauded former Proteas captain and dynamic batter AB de Villiers as a player who was in the class of his own.

The 37-year-old De Villiers announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday, bringing to an end a glittering career that included records for the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODIs.

Generally regarded as one of the best players of his generation, De Villiers retired from international cricket in May 2018, having played 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20s.

He scored an astonishing 20,014 runs across all formats in international cricket and his highest Test score was an unbeaten 278 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2010.

“It’s safe to say that AB is in a class of his own,” said Graeme Smith who captained De Villiers for much of his career.

“I was fortunate enough to not only play with him, but to captain him as well. Always a team man, AB was never afraid to step up to the plate in whatever capacity his team needed him in.

“He has batted, bowled and kept wicket for SA with the same passion and drive he puts into every task requested of him. We won’t even mention the outstanding fielder that he was on top of it all.”

De Villiers, who is known as “Mr 360” in the IPL for his outrageous ability to play shots to all parts of the ground, is worshipped by cricket fans around the world.

“It won’t just be fans of SA cricket who will miss his presence on any and every cricket surface in the world, but his fans and former teammates from around the world too.

“He is one of SA cricket’s most beloved products and we are proud of how he has represented his country, whether in or out of Proteas clothing. I’m certain this won’t be the last we will see of AB and I wish him all the best for all of his future endeavours.”