New Delhi: The cricket world stood dumbstruck when a South African newspaper claimed that AB de Villiers, greatest batsman of this generation, is contemplating retirement. His fans heaved a sigh of relief when the man himself denied the rumours but not without giving his Indian fans a reason to worry.
Speaking on the sidelines of South Africa’s ongoing Test match against England in Durban, de Villiers quashed reports that he was thinking of hanging up his gloves.
"There are a lot of rumours flying around I hear,” de Villiers told the host broadcasters SuperSport.
However, AB expressed his desire to cut down on the amount of cricket he plays throughout the year as he is concerned about the workload on his body. The 31-year-old Proteas cricketer insisted that his desire to play for his country hasn’t diminished and hinted that he may consider not participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“For the last two to three years the only talk I've been doing is to keep myself fresh and to have a bit of rest here and there,” he said.
"It's always been the most important thing for me to enjoy my cricket. It's just important to look at the schedule moving forward, that's the talk in the camp and for me maybe not to play all kinds of cricket.
"If I play all the IPL games the whole season, I do get a bit tired towards the end.
"That's the only thing that I've been talking about in the last while. To keep myself fresh and to keep enjoying the game. I love representing my country and nothing has changed."
Rapport, a South African newspaper, reported that many of the de Villiers’ current and former teammates revealed that certain developments in recent years in South African cricket have made de Villiers consider his future in the longest format of the game.
The newspaper claimed that an injury Vernon Philander's selection ahead of an in-form Kyle Abbott in the 2015 ICC World Cup semi-final against New Zealand is just one of the many reasons that have led to de Villiers’ disappointment with the current state of South African cricket affair.
The same publication had also indicated that fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, irritated with the racial policy that makes it mandatory for all South Africa teams to have six players of colour (at least three black Africans), were also considering retirement.
It would be a big setback for cricket if the duo of de Villiers and Steyn, who have the biggest fan following among neutral supporters, have to take this extreme step due to some petty politics.