Proteas batting maverick AB de Villiers, who stunned the cricketing fraternity by announcing a shock retirement from international cricket in May this year, recently opened up about the pressure while representing country with a huge burden of expectations.
After his 14-year long and illustrious international career, De Villiers is feeling extremely relieved. He recently went for a trip to Europe with his wife Danielle. Moreover, AB is now being able to spend extended time with his two kids.
Although AB has been officially signed as the brand ambassador of the forthcoming UAE T20 League, he won’t be playing in the tournament. Earlier last month, De Villiers had cleared the air saying that he will only play IPL for a few years and will represent Titans in domestic cricket.
“I know the right answer is probably to say I will always miss the game. But I truly believe that players who tell you they don’t feel the pressure of international cricket, being away from home for months at a time, are lying to everyone and themselves,” De Villiers quoted as saying by The Independent.
“It’s been unbearable at times: the pressure you have to face, performing day in and day out. The expectations that you put on yourself, from fans, from the country, from coaches. It is huge, and it’s something that’s on your mind all the time as a cricketer. And it’s definitely something that I’m not going to miss. I’m very happy to have stepped away. Absolutely no regrets,” he added.
Only in recent years that AB began to talk about the demands of international cricket. He was deemed as team’s best batsman, best fielder, most valuable ambassador and its captain.
“I was prepared to embrace it, to fight the pressure. And I’m happy that I did. But it certainly takes his toll after a while. I feel there is room for players to be more honest about it, having systems in place to make sure they keep fresh and mentally healthy. I was certainly not mentally ill at the time, but I can relate to the fact that pressure can really drive you down, and make you so tired,” he remarked.
When asked if he missing the adrenaline rush of doing the impossible with the world watching, De Villiers said: “I know nothing will compare to that feeling of scoring hundreds in a big game. Thousands of people chanting your name. But in all fairness, I don’t miss it. Not yet. Maybe a year down the line. I’m still going to play for a few years; I’ll still play a little bit around the world. But on my own terms.”
The inaugural edition of the UAE T20 league is slated to be played between December 19 and January 11. A total of 24 matches among 5 teams will take place in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The much-awaited tournament will have a 16-man squad that features six international stars, four emerging and junior players, three players from associate teams, and three players from the UAE national team.
“I’ve always been a fan of helping some of the Associate nations. You’ve seen some fantastic talent coming through of late: Rashid Khan, one of the best leg-spinners in the world at the moment. I believe it’ll go from strength to strength,” AB de Villiers concluded.