Former South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis on Monday revealed that it was extremely difficult for him to deal with AB de Villiers’ sudden retirement from international cricket. The swashbuckling batsman announced retirement in May 2018, which came as a shock for many, with his teammate and then skipper Du Plessis wondering how will the team move forward from it.
“When AB left, it was really tough for me, because I depended a lot on him, as a friend, and obviously as the best player in the team, we needed his skills. When he told me that he was done with international cricket, as a friend, my first instinct was — I’m here for you, and I’ll support you, if you feel like you’re at the end of your career and you don’t want to do it anymore, then that’s okay – I support that decision 100 per cent, ” du Plessis told Ravichandran Ashwin on the latter’s official YouTube channel.
Du Plessis admitted that the team was not prepared for his retirement and as a captain, he was completely aware of it. But respecting the friendly bond both share, Du Plessis declined from persuading De Villiers from reconsidering his decision.
“As a captain, I was like how do we move forward without AB, how do we get the same performances. But the friend in me trumped the captain in me. And I just said, we’re going to miss you, are you sure? He was like, yeah, I am 100 per cent sure, I don’t want to play international cricket anymore. I don’t have the drive to do it anymore. So I am stopping. I respected that immediately and left it there. I never ever after that tried to convince him again, because I respected what he said. Even at times when we desperately needed him,” said du Plessis.
After a poor outing in England during the World Cup last year, Du Plessis stepped down from South African team’s captaincy, which according to him, was one of the toughest periods of his cricketing journey so far.
“The last year of international cricket for me was tough, because I carried a lot of what was going through the team’s performances on my own shoulders, and I didn’t want to show that to anyone, because in my own head, I am the captain, I had to make sure I stay strong for the team,” du Plessis said.
“That for me was the hardest thing to do myself, purely because I’ve believed that being a leader is something that was part of my purpose. And I’ve always enjoyed captaining more than I have enjoyed playing. I think I am a good player, but I think I really come to the party when it comes to captaining. That’s when I really love playing cricket. That’s what puts a smile on my face,” he added.
Both Du Plessis and De Villers will now be in action in the upcoming Indian Premier League, which starts from September 19. Du Plessis features for the three-time champion Chennai Super Kings, while De Villiers plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore.