At the conclusion of IPL 2021, with a big auction waiting to take place, fans of RCB were eager to see whether the franchise will retain AB de Villiers. That question was answered when the franchise decided to keep back three players in Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Siraj.
But still, de Villiers fans were keen to know where his next home would be. However, as it turned out, RCB would be the last IPL franchise de Villiers represents as the former South Africa announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in November last year.
De Villiers, 37, obviously did not have much cricket left in him, but it was assumed that Mr. 360 would probably have a couple more years. The decision to retire was received with mixed reactions. While some felt it was time for de Villiers to ride into the sunset, others felt he could have carried on for a little longer.
For the first time since calling time on his career, de Villiers opened up on the situation that triggered the decision, revealing that he had sort of made up his mind during the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League.
"Cricketing wise, it has been coming for quite some time, it's always been about enjoyment for me. And the minute where I felt the difficulty of travelling and being there at the IPL for two and half to three months a year, specifically with this one that was spilt into two, bubbles and this and that made things very complicated with regards to cricket and the enjoyment thereof," said de Villiers in a chat with TimesLive.
IPL 2021 was divided into two parts, with the first half held in India before it was temporarily suspended. The season resumed after six months, this time in the IPL, and as de Villiers mentioned, it took a toll on him, more mentally than physically.
The former South Africa captain reiterated that it was always the love towards the game that drive him to play and perform well and the moment he realised it was no longer the same, was the time de Villiers felt was the right time to go.
"I found myself on the park where scoring runs and doing well for the team didn't really match with everything that goes with it anymore and that is where the balance started leading towards hanging my gloves up. I have never been the guy who is going to push every single bit of energy of my ability and my cricketing skill, I have always played for the enjoyment of the game. And the minute that sort of started going down, I knew it was time for me to move on," de Villiers added.