When Wednesday dawned, cricket fans worldwide were still looking forward to one last World Cup with AB de Villiers in it.
Now that dream has evaporated.
The Proteas legend announced his retirement from all international cricket with immediate effect and Twitter was predictably abuzz.
One of the main themes to De Villiers explaining his decision was the fact that he could retire on a high and on his terms.
“This is a tough decision, I have thought long and hard about it and I’d like to retire while still playing decent cricket. After the fantastic series wins against India and Australia, now feels like the right time to step aside,” he said.
Former Proteas were at the forefront of praising him…
So shocked to here @ABdeVilliers17 has decided to call time on his international career. But that’s just life and he feels it’s time to move on. Thank you great man for your amazing Match winning Performances, Skill Captaincy and most of all your Humility. ????????????
— Allan Donald (@AllanDonald33) 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 #legend pic.twitter.com/8gQBDWbAp7
— mark boucher (@markb46) May 23, 2018
Everyone knows when their time has arrived,abbas is no different. Congrats on a wonderful career @ABdeVilliers17 ????
— Herschelle Gibbs (@hershybru) May 23, 2018
Absolute stunning international career @ABdeVilliers17!Top bloke and very down 2 earth! A great ambassador for the game and role model 2 so many!will miss watching you play in the green and gold!all the best for the future my friend and thanks for the memories!#prinsvanpretoria pic.twitter.com/A1Zv49J5fN
— Roelof van der Merwe (@Roela52) May 23, 2018
And a current one…
— Dane van Niekerk (@danevn81) May 23, 2018
Observers and pundits, however, had some conflicting thoughts…
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
Fickle old time in recent months from @ABdeVilliers17 really. Said he was reinvigorated for SA, not too long ago. Now cites tiredness. Still, he's wholly entitled to quit Proteas on own terms. Awful loss at 34. Might have had a couple more, and stellar, years for the cause …
— Rob Houwing (@RobHouwing) May 23, 2018
AB de Villiers has retired from all international cricket.
All international cricket is now quite substantially less interesting.
— Tom Eaton (@TomEatonSA) May 23, 2018
When he says it isn't about playing abroad, I wonder if he turning his back on T20 cricket too. There isn't just a lot of money to be made there but much joy to be delivered too. #ABRetires
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 23, 2018
Some tried to find a legal loophole…
Dear Mr de Villiers,
We regret to inform you that your resignation cannot be accepted at this time.
– South Africa
— Rob AF. (@RobForbesDJ) May 23, 2018
We were reminded of the link between AB and Supra…
— Lawson Naidoo (@LawsonNaidoo) May 23, 2018
And a Titans legend points out to us that it might be worthwhile to watch domestic cricket again next season…
Not only one of the best ever cricketers to grace this earth but also a beautiful human being!!! Congrats on an awesome Int career @ABdeVilliers17 domestic cricketers ???? themselves with the thought of him playing more games for @Titans_Cricket ????
— Henry Davids (@HenryDavids19) May 23, 2018