Before he announced his retirement from cricket on Friday, AB de Villiers issued a short speech, which was put out by Royal Challengers Bangalore, the IPL franchise he joined in 2011. Seemingly emotional, de Villiers declared he is now "half Indian and half South African" thanks to the love and support of his Indian fans. He may have departed from the IPL, but he will forever be an "RCB-ian". Here's the transcript of his speech:
Today, I'm going to be making a big announcement, a very emotional announcement: that I'm finished with all formats and all cricket, all around. I do have a smile on my face because I feel I am making the right decision, but obviously deep in my heart I'm incredibly sad.
There are lots of emotions and thoughts going through my mind, of all the years of playing cricket. There are lots of mixed emotions. Things happened very quickly in the last month or so. It's been on my mind for a quite a bit. I finally just made the decision that it's time for me to really, truthfully priortise family time and to be just really the best version of myself as much as I can at home.
To all the people in Bangalore, all the people around the world who have followed me, who have supported my RCB team, and any other team that I represented over the years: thank you very much for that. I mean, it's difficult to put into words what the fans around the world and supporters of cricket, and of my cricket specifically, have meant to me - it has been life-changing. And to each and every person, whether you have criticised me or just loved everything that I have done throughout my career - thank you very much.
No, I'm not going to go anywhere and I am going to be an RCB-ian for life. Every single person in the RCB set-up has become family to me. I mean we all have spent a lot of time together, some people come and some go, but that RCB franchise and the spirit and the love that we have for each other will always remain.
I have an incredible time over there. I know we haven't won a trophy, but I truly believe there are plenty more to come in the future. Hopefully I have played my role with Virat and some of the other players who have played a huge role in getting our culture set for the future - may be that has played its role for us to win many trophies in the future. And hopefully I will be part of some of that, we'll see what happens.
But, yes, RCB has changed my life. I think I have become half Indian over the years and I am very proud of that. I absolutely have loved every single second of my journey and I have fallen in love with India as well. That's never going to change - the day I'm not here on the earth anymore I will be half-Indian, half-South African.