Walked away for 12 months just to breathe again – AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers’s decision to take a break from international cricket over the last 12 months was as a result of him wanting to ‘breathe again’. Talking to Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz Unplugged, the former skipper expressed his need to step away from the routine of putting constant pressure on himself and living up to lofty expectations from all over the world.

“Last 12 months have been really important for me. It was important to take a bit of a step back… I’ve become a father of two. A lot of things happened personally for me off the field. It was important for me after 12 years of international cricket just to sit back and have a look at the way I want to go in the last few years of my career. Not sure how long it is going to be, but I really enjoyed the last 12 months, just to make sure that whatever is going to happen in the future happens in the right way and hopefully there are more runs to come.”

“Must be brutally honest, that [growing expectations] is part of why I really enjoyed the last 12 months. Just to sort of get away a little bit, not to feel the constant pressure of having to perform to the expectation day in day out. That does get to you. I am not comparing myself, but I look at a Roger Federer walked out of the game for a while.

“I think that kind of thing surely played a big role in this decision to walk away for a while. Not to put pressure on myself day in day out. Now that I’ve managed it for so long, the huge desire and hunger to be the best… and once you get close to that it does start eating you a little bit. People start expecting you to do it non-stop and don’t always remember how long it took you to get to a certain level. It did play a role in the last 12 months for me to step away. Sort of just to breathe again. And I feel I am ready to take it on again.”

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