AB de Villiers reveals he played career’s last two years with detached retina

South African cricketing maestro AB de Villiers made a significant revelation regarding his final years on the cricket pitch. Despite bidding adieu to international cricket in 2018, the South African icon continued to exhibit his prowess in franchise-based Twenty20 leagues, most notably for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, behind the scenes, de Villiers battled a formidable challeng-a detached retina, that shadowed his last two years in the sport.

De Villiers has opened up about the eye injury he endured before his retirement. While the possibility of returning to international cricket flickered, circumstances prevented a reversal of his decision. He went on to reveal that just before hanging his shoes in 2021 from all formats of cricket, the last two years were half dark for the batter who relied most on hand-eye co-ordination and his reflexes.

“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 said as quoted by Wisden Cricket.

De Villiers relied more on ‘whataboutery’ post-retirement

Speculation buzzed around a potential comeback during the 2019 World Cup, especially after reports emerged that the right-handed batter had expressed interest in rejoining the national squad after having retired in 2018. However, the offer, extended just a day before South Africa’s squad announcement for the tournament, unfortunately went unanswered by Cricket South Africa as they wanted to stick around with a perfectly gelled team over the past two years.

“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,” said De Villiers.

“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’,” he concluded.