World Cup heartbreak in 2015 played huge role in my sudden retirement, says de Villiers

Former South Africa skipper AB de Villiers says the heartbreak of losing the 2015 World Cup semifinal to New Zealand, via the D/L method, spurred his sudden decision to retire from the game.

AB De Villiers says he struggled to cope with the 2015 ICC World Cup semifinal defeat to New Zealand for about a year and regrets not talking about it earlier.   -  REUTERS

Former South Africa skipper AB de Villiers said that the semifinal loss to New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup wore him down for about a year and played a huge role in his sudden decision to retire from international cricket.

South Africa suffered a four-wicket loss to New Zealand via D/L method in the rain-affected semifinal clash and de Villiers accepted that he had struggled to accept it.

“That really wore me down a touch but I kept playing, I tried to bite the bullet, I tried to be there. I was batting really well. I still had incredible friendships and memories,” de Villiers said during a ‘Cricbuzz in Conversation’ show hosted by Harsha Bhogle.

De Villiers said he struggled to cope with the loss for about a year and regretted not opening up about his emotions.

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“The next 12 months was really tough for me. Maybe I should’ve been more honest about it when I look back and communicated about it. I felt like I was a little bit alone at the time but it’s silly to say that you’re alone if you don’t seek help, if you don’t talk about it,” he said.

“If I could have it over again, I would probably open up discussions with the coach, administrators and discuss my way forward. I should’ve shared my emotions with them and things that bothered me. I didn’t,” he continued.

The 36-year-old, regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, had called time on his 14-year-old international cricket in 2018 despite being at the peak of his game. De Villiers had then said that he ran ‘out of gas’ and ‘was feeling tired’ as the reasons behind his retirement.

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However, the former skipper said the New Zealand defeat played a big role in his decision. “From a personal point of view, yeah it played a huge role,” said de Villiers, who has scored 8765 runs in 114 Tests and 9577 runs in 228 ODIs respectively for South Africa.

“We got beaten by sport on the night and it was actually a beautiful thing but it was difficult for me to get through that year and to specifically meet up with the team again a few months later, having to go again.

“Here we go again, we have to restart but I am like hold on, I am not over this World Cup. It hurt too much. So yes, I am sensitive and those kinds of things play a huge role in how I feel and my ambitions,” de Villiers said.

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