De Villiers to feature in IPL for "at least a few years"
AB de Villiers has acknowledged he still wants to feature in the Indian Premier League after announcing his retirement from international cricket in May this year. “I have no plans to play overseas, in fact, I hope I can continue to be available for the Titans in domestic cricket,” he had emphasised then.
However, in an interview with iol.co.za, de Villiers has stressed he will play in the Indian league for at least a few years. “I will keep on playing IPL for a few years, and I would like to play for the Titans, and help some of the youngsters. But there are no set plans. I haven’t been able to say that for a long time,” he confirmed.
“There are some offers on the table from around the world, but it will be nice to wake up and wonder what to do; to be normal. Bangalore is a special place, a second home, really. I played my 100th Test there, and obviously, RCB is a massive part of my life. India as a country has taken me in, and it’s hard to explain what that feels like. I just play cricket.”
When de Villiers decided to hang his boots, a lot of fans were left disappointed that he ended his career without a World Cup medal. He had a chance to push for that goal in the 2019 World Cup but reiterated that he had “run out of gas”. “For a long time, the World Cup was a massive goal. But, in the last few years, I have realised that it isn’t realistic to measure yourself purely on what you achieve in that tournament. That will not be the be-all and end-all of my career,” he pointed out.
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“Yes, I would have loved to win it, but I have great memories from World Cups. The 2007 tournament – my first – was very special. We fell short against Australia when we tried to play too much cricket too soon, but that shift in mentality probably helped us to go over there and win the Test series we then won over there. Personally, I scored my first ODI century in that 2007 tournament, and I loved the whole experience of being in the Caribbean.
“The same goes for the others, in 2011 and in 2015. India has always been close to my heart, because of the passion for cricket, and then obviously 2015 was an amazing game,” he further said about the classic semi-final against New Zealand in which South Africa fell agonisingly short. “We fell on the wrong side of it, but we gave it everything.”
De Villiers felt it wouldn’t be fair to judge his career on what he had achieved in the mega tournament. “I guess that once I acknowledged to myself that I didn’t have to measure my career on one tournament, place so much emphasis on it, it became easier to make my decision,” he revealed. “I also didn’t want to be picking and choosing my way through fixtures from now until then. It wouldn’t be fair.”
Before retiring, de Villiers played a key role in South Africa winning the series against India and then dismantling Australia later on in the four-Test series. The 34-year-old felt the wins were the best possible way to end his illustrious career. “It was the best possible way to finish, against two great teams, in the best format of the game. There was a lot of motivation for me to do well, and for the team to do well. Series like that don’t come around too often,” he said.
“I love all the formats, and T20 is a lot of fun. It has brought in a new audience, and it has definitely changed our lives as players financially. But the ultimate format is still Test cricket.”