CSA: What more could we have done to keep AB?

Cape Town - Cricket South Africa's (CSA) acting CEO Thabang Moroe says that he was as surprised as anyone to learn of AB de Villiers' retirement. 

De Villiers stunned the cricketing world on Wednesday when he announced that, with immediate effect, he would step away from the international game in all formats. 

It is a massive blow to South Africa's chances of winning next year's World Cup in England, but De Villiers explained that he was "tired" and that the time was right for him to give other an opportunity. 

Moroe, who was in Cape Town at the time engaging in discussions with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA), said he received a phone call from De Villiers on Wednesday morning informing him of the news. 

With CSA and SACA having had their own well-documented issues in recent months and struggling to find common ground on a new Memorandum of Understanding and a new financial model, there were immediate questions raised over the role CSA had played in De Villiers' decision. 

But, according to Moroe, De Villiers had no issues with CSA whatsoever. 

"None at all," Moroe told Sport24 on Thursday.

"I spoke to Faf yesterday and he also said he didn't see this coming."

When asked if there was anything more that CSA could have done to hold onto one of the most naturally gifted players the game has ever seen, Moroe explained that CSA needed to be careful in terms of how far they want to persuade players to play for South Africa.

"What is it that AB would want, because as important as he is as a player, at some point you need to draw the line in terms of what it is that you can give your players," Moroe said.

"What happens if a guy like Kagiso (Rabada) says that he wants to retire from international cricket tomorrow? Must we offer him the same thing?

"To be quite fair to AB, he never asked for anything. All he asked for was for me to support his decision."

Moroe added that he had asked De Villiers to hold off on his decision until the two could meet face-to-face upon Moroe's return to Johannesburg. 

"He didn't really give me much time or any opportunity to try and change his mind," Moroe said.

"When he spoke to me he told me that this was a decision he had been sitting with for the past five months and that's how long it's taken him to get to where he is today.

"I was shocked, and I didn't know how to react to it other than to tell him that I respect his decision. 

"I asked him to hang ten, because I was in Cape Town in talks with SACA. He explained that he was willing to talk about it yesterday already, which is why he called me because he was hoping to come to the office. He wasn't willing to wait, which was pretty strange.

"I respected the fact that he called me and appreciated it."

According to Moroe, even Proteas skipper and one of De Villiers' closest friends Faf du Plessis never saw this coming.

"Before the guys left for the IPL I had a chat with Faf talking about the future of the Proteas as well as the senior guys in the team," Moroe explained.

"Faf told me that there was nothing to worry about and that we will talk when he comes back from the IPL, but that as far as the senior players were concerned, they are all committed, and we would talk about exit strategies and their plans after the World Cup.

"I thought we still had time."

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