Abraham Benjamin De Villiers said goodbye to international cricket in May 2018 and the first thought that rattled his mate, Faf Du Plessis was that how are they going to move forward from that void which the magician left behind.
Speaking to Ravichandran Ashwin on his Youtube program, DRS with Ash, Du Plessis said that resigning from the South African captaincy was the hardest thing that he did in his career, given his inclination towards leading teams in cricket.
De Villiers said, “I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired” when he retired from international cricket. The batting linchpin wanted to be recalled for the 2019 50 World Cup but that didn’t happen and with the 2020 T20 World Cup being postponed indefinitely, Du Plessis that it will be harder for everyone to convince the former captain of the Rainbow nation to be plucked out of retirement.
Du Plessis said, “When AB left, it was really tough for me, because I depended a lot on him, as a friend, and obviously like the best player in the team; we needed his skills.”
He continued, “So that conversation was… when he said that to me, said he was done, he was finished 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%’’.
He also said, “As a captain, I was like (clenches his teeth and makes a face) – ‘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% sure, I don’t want to play international cricket anymore. I don’t have the drive to do it anymore. So I am stopping.’’
He also quoted, “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.”
South Africa was undergoing a very difficult phase of time as they were taken to the cleaners by Sri Lanka, England, and India. Du Plessis took it all on him and stepped down from the captaincy, handing over the captaincy to Quinton De Kock.
He 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 continued, “And 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, I don’t show weakness towards the team. That was tough because I didn’t have a lot of guys to speak to about it, a lot of experienced guys around me.”
Right since this heavy unfolding, Du Plessis could only manage one game in this entire phase since lockdown that he played for Titans. He will be looking forward to making a solid statement with a blistering knock in the colors of Chennai.