Dale Steyn has paid tribute to former Proteas teammate AB de Villiers after he announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday.
When De Villiers spoke of feeling tired in the message he left on social media, he wasn’t just talking of the physical toll.
Mental fatigue does far more damage: past cases comprise Steve Harmison, Jonathan Trott, and Marcus Trescothick, who all struggled with the mental rigours of international cricket.
The temptation to go on another year and end South Africa’s World Cup misery would have been hugely tempting, but by stepping away from the game when he has, De Villiers has brought to light that we must take better care of the superstars that make the game so fun for us all to see.
Steyn joined the chorus of cricket legends to pay tribute to De Villiers on social media, and he by far paid the greatest tribute yet.
He wrote the following heartfelt message to his good friend and former colleague.
“We started this cricket thing way back in 2004. We’ve see the world, met amazing people, played the great teams and beaten the best there is in it too.
“We’ve shared changing rooms, been roomies, golf partners, McDonald’s after late nights. You’re a champion man in my book bud, and I’m pretty sure in everyone else’s too.
“Congratulations on a stellar international career, it’s been an incredible journey and a privilege to have shared it with you. There’ll never be another AB de Villiers.”
Enough to bring a tear to the eye.
De Villiers represented his country in 114 Tests, 228 ODIs, and 78 T20Is.
The 34-year-old retires with a superb Test average of 50.66 and as the fourth highest run-scorer for the Proteas with 8,765 runs (22 centuries).
He finishes his illustrious limited-overs career as the No.2 ranked player in the world and as the second highest run-scorer behind Jacques Kallis with 9,577 runs at an average of 53.50.