Some of the biggest names in world cricket have taken to social media to praise an incredible career.
The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Kevin Pietersen and Jacques Kallis were all compelled to share a message to AB de Villiers, the South African batting master who announced his decision to retire from the international game on Wednesday night (AEST).
The 34-year-old made the shock revelation in an emotional video, with the decision ruling him out of contention for the 2019 World Cup.
“It is time for others to take over. I’ve had my turn, and to be honest, I’m tired,” de Villiers said.
“This is a tough decision. I’ve thought long and hard about it and I’d like to retire while still playing decent cricket. After the fantastic series wins against India and Australia, now feels the right time to step aside.
“It would not be right for me to pick and choose where and when and in what format I play for the Proteas. For me, in green and gold, it must be everything or nothing. I will always be grateful for my teammates, the coaches and the staff of Cricket South Africa for their support all these years.
“It’s not about earning more somewhere else. It’s about running out of gas and feeling that it’s time to move on. Everything comes to an end. To cricket fans around South Africa and around the world, thank you very much for your kindness, your generosity and, today, your understanding.
“I have no plans to play overseas. In fact, I hope I can continue to be available for the Titans in domestic cricket and I will remain the biggest supporter of Faf du Plessis and the Proteas.”
Immediately, cricket superstars took to social media to share their classy tributes.
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) May 23, 2018
I remember this young guy on his 1st day out for Proteas… What an inspiration, person and player he turned out to be. Thank you for everything you have done and been for your country, teammates and fans @ABdeVilliers17 #legend pic.twitter.com/8gQBDWbAp7
— mark boucher (@markb46) May 23, 2018
Congrats on an awesome career @ABdeVilliers17 Enjoy retirement and the extra time with your family. Was a pleasure watching you as a youngster and then becoming one of the best in the world.
— Jacques Kallis (@jacqueskallis75) May 23, 2018
Congrats on an outstanding career. You deserve all the accolades but most importantly, time now to enjoy with your family and friends. Always the toughest to play against
— Mitchell Johnson (@MitchJohnson398) May 23, 2018
Congratulations to @ABdeVilliers17 on a sensational international cricket career!!!
Certainly will go down as one of the greats of the game both as a player but also as a person- A true great on and off the field.
Best wishes for the next innings in life
— Mike Hussey (@mhussey393) May 23, 2018
— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) May 23, 2018
Such a shame for international cricket @ABdeVilliers17 … But he has been an unbelievable advert to how I would have loved to have played all 3 formats .. GREAT GREAT Player … Top 3 that I have ever seen .. #AB
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) May 23, 2018
All the best @ABdeVilliers17 on ur new chapter.What a player,what a man!Truly an honour to have watched & fortunate to have been in ur team❤
— hashim amla (@amlahash) May 23, 2018
Congratulations @ABdeVilliers17 , the most loved cricketer in the world, on a wonderful career. International cricket will be poorer without you, but you will continue to be celebrated by cricket fans around the world pic.twitter.com/uA7CBlYE9F
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) May 23, 2018
So shocked to here @ABdeVilliers17 has decided to call time on his international career. But that’s just life and he feels it’s time to move on. Thank you great man for your amazing Match winning Performances, Skill Captaincy and most of all your Humility.
— Allan Donald (@AllanDonald33) May 23, 2018
Most definitely a G.O.A.T in my book. Truly an honour to have shared some memorable moments on and off the field with you champion. Congrats on an outstanding international career. Wishing you all the best in the next chapter my friend. Good well Braampie @abdevilliers17 #GOAT pic.twitter.com/RV7eK5JmJS
— JP Duminy (@jpduminy21) May 23, 2018
Sad to hear that @ABdeVilliers17 has retired from the game. He was a serious player on the field for and an even better person off it and proud to call him my team mate and friend. Good luck with the future plans my bud. U will be missed by many. #Legendofthegame
— Dean Elgar (@deanelgar) May 23, 2018
— Mitchell McClenaghan (@Mitch_Savage) May 23, 2018
— Suresh Raina (@ImRaina) May 23, 2018
— Umesh Yaadav (@y_umesh) May 23, 2018
De Villiers retires having played 114 Test matches, 228 one-day and 78 Twenty20 internationals, amassing 20,014 runs for South Africa.
A former captain in all three formats, he raised the bat for 22 Test centuries and 25 ODI centuries.
His final match for the Proteas was South Africa’s 492-run win over Australia in Johannesburg to secure a 3-1 series victory over their long-time rivals.
He holds numerous records as an international cricketer, including the fastest ODI fifty (16 balls) and century (31 balls) when he scored 149 off just 44 against the West Indies in January 2015.
De Villiers recently completed an Indian Premier League season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, scoring 480 runs at an average of 53.33.