Dubai: Plenty of wishes went the way of the South African legend after he called time on his international career, but it was all laced with a tinge of sadness.
The cricket world was getting used to not seeing AB de Villiers each time South Africa stepped out to play. But that changed late last year when he started playing Test cricket regularly again.
All was well, till the shock announcement on Wednesday , when Cricket South Africa released a statement saying the champion batsman had called time on his 14-year international career.
Across on Twitter, the disbelief was all too obvious.
Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, "Like your on-field game, may you have 360-degree success off the field as well. You will definitely be missed, @ABdeVilliers17. My best wishes to you!"
Mark boucher tweeted, "I remember this young guy on his 1st day out for Proteas... What an inspiration, person and player he turned out to be. Thank you for everything you have done and been for your country, teammates and fans ."
Allan Donald in a tweet said, "So shocked to here ABdeVilliers17 has decided to call time on his international career. But that's just life and he feels it's time to move on. Thank you great man for your amazing Match winning Performances, Skill Captaincy and most of all your Humility.
Cricketer R P Singh said, "The man who showed the world that batting 360? is an easy task. All the best for your future endeavours @ABdeVilliers17, thank you for all the unforgettable memories!"
Alex Blackwell tweeted, " True legend. Finishing on top and allowing next generation to step up. The way AB found innovative ways to dominate bowling attacks was an inspiration."
Michael Vaughan said, "Such a shame for international cricket @ABdeVilliers17 ... But he has been an unbelievable advert to how I would have loved to have played all 3 formats .. GREAT GREAT Player ... Top 3 that I have ever seen."
Brendan Taylor tweeted, "Really gutted to hear this. But you only deserve to go out on your terms,what you've given to the world as a player and a person is second to none. One of the best EVER. Thank you Champion!"
Harsha Bhogle tweeted, "Must admit to being a bit shocked by @ABdeVilliers17 decision to quit all international cricket. We knew it was coming but I thought he would give the World Cup another shot.
Tom Moody in a tweet said, "Thank you AB, you have made the game a joy to watch!"
VVS Laxman said, "Many congratulations @ABdeVilliers17 on a glorious Cricket career. You enriched the game with your ability, presence and mannerisms and will continue to be a role-model for aspiring cricketers. Wish you a very happy post-retirement life."
Darren Lehmann tweeted, "A great of the game who entertained all throughout his career congrats @ABdeVilliers17. Wonderful person as well to cap it off. "
Anil Kumble said, "An inspiration to millions, and one of the greatest to have come from South Africa."
Virender Sehwag said, "Congratulations @ABdeVilliers17 , the most loved cricketer in the world, on a wonderful career. International cricket will be poorer without you, but you will continue to be celebrated by cricket fans around the world."
Shikhara Dhawan tweeted, "It was a pleasure to have been involved in many battles with you on the international stage. A true South African legend."
Carlos Brathwaite in a tweet said, "Enjoy your retirement legend, helped to revolutionize modern day batting, you will be missed."
Meanwhile,. the International Cricket Council (ICC) has congratulated former South Africa Test captain AB de Villiers for an outstanding 14-year international career that saw him excel across all three formats of the game.
The 34-year-old, who came to be known as the most devastating batsmen of his generation and holds several records including the world's fastest ODI half-century, century and 150, announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday.
I thank him on behalf of the ICC for a fine career and an outstanding contribution to cricket and wish him all the best for the future, said ICC Chief Executive David Richardson on Wednesday.
AB is undoubtedly one of cricket's great entertainers and a genuinely special and instinctive talent. Time and time again he has left cricket fans around the world marveling at his feats with the bat and in the field. International cricket will sorely miss him.
"His outstanding international record reflects the kind of dominance he has had over bowlers and I thank him on behalf of the ICC for a fine career and an outstanding contribution to cricket and wish him all the best for the future," he said.
De Villiers scored 8,765 runs in 114 Tests with 22 centuries (average 50.66), 9,577 runs in 228 ODIs with 25 centuries and 1,672 runs in 78 T20Is with 10 half-centuries. Starting out as a wicketkeeper-batsman, he finished his career with 463 catches, including those behind the wicket and in the field, as well as 17 stumpings in all international cricket.
He ended with an average of more than 50 in both Tests and ODIs and often featured at the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Player Rankings. He spent 507 days as the top-ranked Test batsman and 1,356 days (fourth-most ever) as the top-ranked ODI batsman.(UNI)