JOHANNESBURG • South Africa's star batsman A.B. de Villiers on Wednesday announced his surprise retirement from international cricket after a glittering 14-year career playing for the Proteas.
He won fans around the world for mixing traditional and unorthodox shots, as well as his fast scoring and ability to hit the ball to all parts of the ground.
The 34-year-old holds the world record for the fastest half-century (16 balls), century (31 balls) and 150 (64 balls) in ODIs, and is one of the few batsmen to top the Test and 50-over rankings at the same time.
"I have decided to retire from all international cricket with immediate effect," he said in a statement.
"After 114 Test matches, 228 ODIs and 78 T20 Internationals, it is time for others to take over. I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired."
The middle-order batsman, popularly known simply as AB, said it had taken him a long time to make the "tough" decision and that he decided to quit while still playing "decent cricket".
"It would not be right for me to pick and choose where, when and in what format I play for the Proteas. For me, in the green and gold, it must be everything or nothing," he added.
He has no plans to play overseas but would continue in league competitions, adding: "It's not about earning more somewhere else, it's about running out of gas."
England captain Joe Root hailed his "freakish" achievements, saying: "He has had a wonderful career, done freakish things in the game across three formats and he has been a great servant to South Africa."
De Villiers retired with a Test average of 50.66 and as the fourth-highest run-scorer for South Africa with 8,765 runs, with 22 centuries.
In limited overs, he finished as the world No. 2 batsman and as the second-highest run-scorer behind Jacques Kallis with 9,577 runs at an average of 53.50.
International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive David Richardson said de Villiers was "one of cricket's great entertainers and a genuinely special and instinctive talent".
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar also wished him well on Twitter, saying: "Like your on-field game, may you have 360-degree success off the field."