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AB de Villiers reveals he played the last two years of his career with a detached retina

AB de Villiers
by Wisden Staff 7 minute read

AB de Villiers has revealed to Wisden Cricket Monthly that he played the last two years of his career with a detached retina.

De Villiers announced his retirement from international cricket in May 2018, bringing the curtain down on an illustrious career. However, he continued to play franchise-based Twenty20 leagues, most notably for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

This led to to speculation of an international comeback, particularly at the 2019 World Cup. However, de Villiers did not change his decision.


More than two years after his last professional match, at the 2021 IPL, de Villiers told Melinda Farrell in Wisden Cricket Monthly about an eye injury he had sustained not too long before his retirement: “My youngster accidentally kicked me on my eye with his heel. I started really losing vision in the right eye.

“When I got the surgery done the doctor actually asked me, ‘How in the world did you play cricket like this?’. Luckily my left eye did a decent job for the last two years of my career.”

De Villiers also explained why he did not reverse his international retirement: “Covid certainly played a role, there’s no doubt about it. From an international perspective, that 2015 World Cup hurt big time. It took me a while to get over that and then, when I got back into the side and I was ready to commit, I didn’t feel the same culture that I really needed at that time.

“I often found myself thinking, I don’t know, eh? Could this be the end of my career? I didn’t even really want to play IPL or anything else. I got away from everything in 2018 and then decided to push one more time with a bit of Test cricket, to try and beat India and Australia over here, and then I’ll call it. I didn’t want any spotlight on me. I just wanted to say, ‘I had a great time, thank you very much’.”

Read the full interview with AB de Villers in the new Wisden Cricket Monthly, out now.

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