The South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) today paid tribute to AB de Villiers who retired from international cricket yesterday.

“On behalf of the collective of South Africa’s professional cricketers I would like to congratulate AB on his stellar career as a professional cricketer and for his contribution to the game in South Africa,” said Tony Irish, SACA’s chief executive.

“It’s sad that we will no longer see AB in a Proteas shirt, but he has given many years to the national cause and he deserves all the accolades he is now receiving. I’m not sure that many people realise just how unrelenting the playing schedule is for a player like AB and how much it takes out of one, both on and off the field.”

“AB’s record in international cricket speaks for itself and one just needs to take in the public response to his retirement on social media to understand what he has meant to cricket fans in South Africa and around the world. I would, however, like to pay special tribute to him for the way in which he has conducted himself as a professional over a long period of time. When commenting on player welfare issues in a FICA player survey in 2016, AB said ‘I am a person first, and then a cricketer.’ I believe this gives some insight into AB and perhaps explains why he has earned the level of respect he has in the game. His unique skill combined with his level of personal development as a man has made AB de Villiers the cricketer he is today.”

“AB has played for his country for 14 years but has also led the way as a modern-day cricketer playing in cricket’s newly established global landscape. He has had huge success both with the Proteas and in the IPL, most recently with Royal Challengers Bangalore. He is one of a few cricketers who is loved as much by fans in India and as he is by those in South Africa. Other players may follow in his tracks but for any foreign player to achieve what he has in India it will take a special person.”

“We thank AB for his contribution to the international game and wish him all the best in his retirement,” concluded Irish.

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