Proteas coach Gibson shocked by De Villiers retirement

AB de Villiers' decision to retire from international cricket came as a shock to South Africa head coach Ottis Gibson.

Former South Africa batsman AB de Villiers   -  Getty Images

Ottis Gibson conceded AB de Villiers' retirement from the international game came as something of a shock.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that De Villiers, 34, would step away from the South Africa fold with immediate effect, after a career encompassing 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 Twenty20 internationals.

As part of his announcement, De Villiers declared he was "running out of gas" but plans to continue playing for the Titans, while head coach Gibson sees this as a chance for a younger player to step into the team with the World Cup just 12 months away.

"The announcement came as a shock to me," said Gibson. "We had a conversation when he called me in the morning before he made the announcement.

"We had a long conversation and I asked, 'Are you sure you are doing the right thing?' He reckoned that he is.

"He had spoken with people he is close to, people that advise him and he reckons that he is tired. 

"Of course, it is disappointing. He is one of the best players in the world. It would have made a huge difference in the World Cup. He knows that. But he has chosen to walk away at this time, and it is what it is.

"He gave me a year to find an appropriate replacement for him. I don't believe he can be replaced, but it gives an opportunity for somebody to put their hand up.

"If I was a young cricketer playing franchise cricket in the country and I see the number four spot open, I would do whatever I can to make this position mine."

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