AB de Villiers finally picks a cake

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Photo by Sarah Ansell

AB de Villiers spent rather a long time desperately trying to engineer a cake monopoly. He wanted to retain and eat The Cake of International Cricket; he wanted to retain and eat The Lucrative Cake of T20 Franchise Cricket; and he also wanted to retain and eat The Cake of Having a Little Bit of Time Off.

Sometimes a man’s desires are impractical and AB finally seems to have accepted that the world isn’t organised how he wants it to be. He’s therefore taken the decision to forego The Cake of International Cricket.

It seems odd timing with a World Cup not so far away. Maybe David Warner and Nathan Lyon broke his spirit.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. A shame, he definitely had more to give at age 34 – runs left out on the field there, on the basis that he would’ve scored more runs in international cricket than seasonal bigbashbosh et al, which clearly means more to him now.

    Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide if the IPL means anything to me. here at work we’ve each picked a franchise, me the RR because it had a couple of my favourite England players, namely Buttler and Stokes, in it, and I love a good jaipuri; one of my colleagues went for KRR because he loves Knight Rider.

    RR look good for a semi-final berth at present but I’m struggling to raise the interest level beyond ‘meh’, and even that is largely down to the work rivalry.

    What’s your favourite franchise? How did they do this year? Are you feeling the euphoria or despair?

    Lastly, I move that the international text commentary symbol for a Hero Honda maximum be |o|

    1. The #1 reason to pick the Rajasthan Royals is the beer ‘Jaipur’, by the Thornbridge brewery. Although from memory I think I picked them because of Dimitri Mascarenhas…

    2. My team is Sunrisers Hyderabad, because they have Rashid Khan, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson and don’t have David Warner any more. They’ve done all right, I think (I watched one game, which they won).

    3. I’ve done some research and have decided to support Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

      Fingers crossed!

    4. KXIP, whose abbreviation calls to mind local radio stations, pretty much by default (they employed the universe boss).

      I only watched one game. Gayle made a hundred. Hard to feel angry or amazed about any of this.

    5. I don’t really support any franchise. I would rather continually watch Bangladesh or Pakistan play test cricket. And I’m Indian.

      I’m slightly indifferent to the result. Which reminds me, all of the teams in ‘The Hundred’ should be named after cats.

  2. It might be mean spirited of me, but I’m slightly relieved that AB is retiring. Whilst recognising and admiring his brilliance, he made me rather uncomfortable. His career seemed to suggest that there were no limits to what a batsman could do in any form of cricket. Tests could be played like T20s. It just seemed a matter of time before he was scoring 9 ball fifties regularly and (and here is the rub) , once he had shown how it was done the rest of the game would follow and it would be spoiled forever. Of course the other alternative was that he was just freakishly good, but much though I usually love freakishly good cricketers, I’m pleased he is going. And he has seemed a bit of a Handschuhschneeballwerfer (as the Germans would say) near the end of his career.

  3. It is quite strange to think of a guy that has left international cricket early (which was my initial thought) when he has played 114 Tests and 228 ODIs. Only 7 England players have played more Tests than that and NONE have played more ODIs than that.

    Basically, it is quite easy to paint him now as a bit of a mercenary that has chased the money (almost on a par with some of the WI players). But he has played a hell of a lot of international cricket, and it is not exactly unfathomable that he is a) knackered and b) has acheived all that he wants to. Probably all he is missing is a global trophy, which is one thing for maybe sticking with ODIs for 12 more months, but then again maybe he doesn’t want to potentially go out on a semi final defeat.

    Like TheSmudge, I found it hard to warm to or in a weird way rate him properly because he was such an outlier. He rarely came into the conversation when talking about the best batsmen in the world with my mates because OBVIOUSLY De Villiers. You can have an hour debate about whether Kohli, Root, Williamson, Smith or Amla is better, just agreeing on De Villiers after 30 seconds and then sitting in silence was no fun at all.

  4. Fastest ODI hundred, fastest ODI fifty (same innings), third most sixes (per game played), a test average of a shade over 50, an ODI average of 53 (at a strike rate of 101/100 balls). All the way down to rearguard actions where he has played over 200 balls for less than 50 runs.

    And ABD wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.

    (Well, not quite, but you know what I mean)

  5. Stoneman and Root (and Malan) doing a much better job than Vince would have done, there.

    1. Pah! More than 3 times better than England’s last first innings of a series – onwards and upwards!

  6. Sachin chose when and where he wanted to play in the last 5-6 years of his career, no questions asked. ABD would have gotten away with it. Just a thought.

  7. Puts Ireland’s efforts against Pakistan in to perspective.

    We all need a laugh, so how about this headline from the BBC sports website:

    ” Attack on amateur football referee described as ‘worst in Britain’ ”

    Thankfully he only suffered minor injuries in the end, but wait until he sees that ….

  8. As the shorter formats gain more prominence, players with similar and high results in all formats will probably start to show up more. The bowling and batting in all formats will be conditioned by the importance of T20. As a result, the opposition in various formats will probably still set up a similar dynamic. The later players might also be more adapted, as the cricketing world adapts to this new format.

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