Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis and Sachin Tendulkar led the tributes to AB de Villiers after the South Africa great announced his retirement from all forms of the international game.
Former Proteas captain De Villiers confirmed his decision on Wednesday, saying he is “tired” and “running out of gas”, despite enjoying strong form since his return to Test cricket in December.
And tributes have poured in from around the world, lauding the quality of one of South Africa’s greatest batsmen.
Du Plessis took to Instagram to express his sadness that he can no longer call De Villiers a Proteas team-mate.
“Gonna miss playing with [you], mate,” he wrote. “So many great memories of partnerships that we shared on the cricket field. Sad that we won’t bat together again for the green and gold. Gonna miss you.”
From one Proteas icon to another, Kallis congratulated De Villiers on establishing himself as one of the best.
“Congrats on an awesome career @ABdeVilliers17. Enjoy retirement and the extra time with your family,” Kallis tweeted.
“Was a pleasure watching you as a youngster and then becoming one of the best in the world.”
Congrats on an awesome career@ABdeVilliers17Enjoy 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
It was not just South Africa stars paying tribute, though, as India legend Tendulkar took to Twitter to hail ‘Mr 360’.
He posted: “Like your on-field game, may you have 360-degree success off the field as well. You will definitely be missed, @ABdeVilliers17. My best wishes to you!”
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt)May 23, 2018
Former England captain Michael Vaughan added: “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.”
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
England skipper Joe Root was discussing the possibility of playing across all three formats ahead of the first Test against Pakistan and referenced De Villiers’ quality.
“If you look at someone like AB, he has had a wonderful career, done freakish things in the game across three formats and he has been a great servant to South Africa,” Root said.
“But he has been doing it for 12, 14 years, a long time, and by anyone’s standards, that is a long career.”
Virender Sehwag, Mike Hussey, Mark Boucher, Kevin Pietersen and Mitchell Johnson were among the others to take to social media in praise of De Villiers.
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 worldpic.twitter.com/uA7CBlYE9F
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag)May 23, 2018
Congratulations to@ABdeVilliers17on 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
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#legendpic.twitter.com/8gQBDWbAp7
— mark boucher (@markb46)May 23, 2018
— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24)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