AB de Villiers got the world of cricket talking once again with his incredible knock for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday. De Villiers plundered 73* off 33 balls with five fours and six sixes to set the stadium ablaze. His knock propelled RCB to 194, a total which was enough for them to beat KKR comprehensively – by 82 runs. Clearly, everyone was talking about de Villiers being at his belligerent best.
This is de Villiers’ third half-century of the season in seven matches, and judging by his fine form in the IPL, India head coach Ravi Shastri believes the time is right for de Villiers to end his retirement and return to play international cricket for South Africa. Shastri is convinced that de Villiers’s return is needed for international cricket in ‘these trying times’.
“Now, that the penny has dropped. What one saw last night was unreal. And the feeling is the same waking up. @ABdeVilliers17, the game in these trying times or otherwise needs you back in the international arena and out of retirement. The game will be better off,” Shastri tweeted on Tuesday.
De Villiers’ retirement from international cricket in May of 2018 came as a bit of a shock for everyone. The dynamic batsman would have been an integral part of South Africa’s plans for the 2019 World Cup, and the decision to call time meant that captain Faf du Plessis would be without one of his biggest match-winners for the ICC tournament. As it turned out, de Villiers’ absence was a huge void which SA failed to fill as they finished seventh on the points-table and were the second team after Afghanistan to be eliminated from the competition.
Controversy erupted in the middle of last year’s World Cup when it was revealed that de Villiers made one last-ditch effort to come out of retirement but South Africa’s team management, along with captain du Plessis and head coach Ottis Gibson had turned it down because they felt it would be unfair on those who had worked hard to make it to SA’s World Cup squad.