Virat Kohli hailed AB de Villiers as "the best player of our times" after the South Africa legend announced his retirement on Friday.

De Villers called time on his illustrious career at the age of 37 after establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.

A mercurial batsman, brilliant fielder and fine wicketkeeper when called upon to don the gloves, De Villers made 114 Test appearances, playing in 228 ODIs and featured in 78 T20Is.

De Villiers scored an astonishing 20,014 runs at international level and made 47 centuries to go down as a Proteas great.

He was also outstanding for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and Kohli paid a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

The India Test and ODI captain tweeted: "To the best player of our times and the most inspirational person I've met, you can be very proud of what you've done and what you've given to RCB my brother. Our bond is beyond the game and will always be.

"This hurts my heart but I know you've made the best decision for yourself and your family like you've always done. I love you."

Former Proteas captain Faf du Plessis tweeted: "Well done @ABdeVilliers17 on a special career. I've been extremely lucky to be on the same cricket field as you.

"The game will not be the same without you. The greatest player I have played with."

Cricket South Africa posted: "Thank you for the memories, the records broken and the entertainment @ABdeVilliers17. We salute your contribution to the game and wish you everything of the best for the future."

RCB expressed their gratitude to De Villiers for the impact he made at the IPL franchise. 

"End of an era! There's nobody like you, AB. We'll miss you dearly at RCB. For all that you've done and given to the team, to the fans, and to cricket lovers in general, #ThankYouAB. Happy retirement, legend!" RCB posted.

South Africa legend AB de Villiers has confirmed his retirement from all forms of cricket at the age of 37.

The Proteas great made the announcement on Friday, calling time on a glittering career that saw him win 114 Test caps, feature in 228 ODIs and make 78 T20I outings.

He stepped down from the international stage in 2018 but continued to represent Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, as well as feature in other T20 competitions. 

However, the prolific batsman - an excellent fielder who also donned the wicketkeeping gloves - will no longer showcase his incredible talents after deciding to call it a day.

"It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket," he wrote on Twitter.

"Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly.

"That's the reality I must accept – and, even if it may seem sudden, that is why I am making this announcement. I've had my time. Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me.

"Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me. Whether playing for the Titans, or the Proteas, or RCB, or around the world, the game has given me unimagined experiences and opportunities, and I will always be grateful.

"I would like to thank every team-mate, every opponent, every coach, every physio and every staff member who has travelled the same path, and I am humbled by the support I have received in South Africa, in India, wherever I have played.

"Last, I am aware that nothing would have been possible without the sacrifices made by my family – my parents, my brothers, my wife Danielle and my children. I look forward to the next chapter of our lives when I can truly put them first."

De Villiers last played for South Africa in a Test match against Australia back in March 2018, having debuted against England in 2004.

He scored 8,765 runs in Tests at an average of 50.66, with 22 centuries as well as taking 222 catches, 101 of those as a keeper.

De Villiers was even more impressive in the ODI format, averaging 53.50 and racking up 25 hundreds in 228 appearances, while he made 1,672 runs in T20I 75 knocks at an average of 26.12. 

The veteran's 157 matches for RCB yielded 4,522 runs at a strike rate of 158.33.

Former South Africa batsman AB de Villiers will not be making a return to international cricket.

De Villiers has not been named in any of the Proteas' squads to face West Indies and Ireland next month.

After talks about a potential comeback ahead of the World Twenty20 concluded, no agreement was reached and the 37-year-old's retirement is now final.

"AB de Villiers finalises [his] international retirement," read a statement from Cricket South Africa on Tuesday.

"Discussions with AB de Villiers have concluded with the batsman deciding once and for all that his retirement will remain final."

De Villiers had also been linked with a comeback before the 2019 Cricket World Cup, but ended up not being selected after making a last-gasp offer to play in the tournament.

The veteran last played for South Africa in a Test match against Australia back in March 2018.

He played in 114 Tests for the Proteas and scored 8,765 runs at an average of 50.66, with 22 centuries as well as taking 222 catches, 101 of those as a wicketkeeper.

De Villiers was even more impressive in the ODI format, averaging 53.50 and racking up 25 hundreds in 228 appearances, while he also played in 78 T20Is.

South Africa will play two Tests and five T20Is against West Indies before three ODIs and three T20Is against Ireland.

Six uncapped players were named in the Test squad: Prenelan Subrayen, Lizaad Williams, Kyle Verreynne, Keegan Petersen, Sarel Erwee and Marco Jansen.

Dean Elgar will lead the 19-man squad for the first time as permanent Test skipper after replacing Quinton de Kock.

Harshal Patel hit the winning run off the last ball after claiming a five-wicket haul as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians in a thrilling first game of the Indian Premier League.

Defending champions Mumbai collapsed from 94-1 after 11 overs to 159-9 after being put in by Virat Kohli, all-rounder Harshal taking 5-27 in Chennai on Friday and Chris Lynn top-scoring with 49.

Four wickets fell in the final over of the holders' innings at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, with Harshal claiming his maiden five-wicket T20 haul in the first match of his second spell with RCB following his Delhi Capitals exit.

Bangalore were cruising with Kohli (33) and new signing Glenn Maxwell (39) at the crease, but it was game on when they were 122-6 in the 17th over after losing four wickets for 24 runs.

AB de Villiers looked set to see them home, but RCB were left needing two off as many balls for victory when the maverick wicketkeeper-batsman was run out for 48.

Harshal held his nerve to take a single off the final delivery from IPL debutant Marco Jansen (2-28), sealing a dramatic two-wicket win for big-spending RCB.

Five-time champions Mumbai, bidding to become the first team to win the tournament three times in a row, were ultimately made to pay for scoring only 25 runs in the last four overs of their innings.

Late Harshal burst rocks Mumbai

The holders appeared set to post a challenging total with Indians debutant Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav at the crease after Rohit Sharma was run out for 19, but they capitulated in spectacular fashion.

Powerful new recruit Lynn struck three sixes as the Australian and Suryakumar (31) put on 70 for the second wicket before they were removed by Washington Sundar and big-money signing Kyle Jamieson (1-27) respectively.

Paceman Harshal then took centre stage, trapping Ishan Kishan lbw before dismissing Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jansen in an incredible final over that ended with Rahul Chahar being run out. 

 

De Villiers delivers, Harshal the hero

Maxwell put on a show along with Kohli after Sundar and Rajat Patidar fell cheaply, clearing the rope twice.

The Australia all-rounder was on his way when he ramped Jansen to Lynn at short fine leg and the South African paceman struck for a second time in the 15th over to send Shahbaz Ahmed packing.

De Villiers made it advantage RCB as 15 runs came off the 18th over from Trent Boult and although he was run out by Krunal after hitting a couple of sixes in a brilliant 27-ball knock, Harshal ensured his innings was not in vain.

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