Former Royal Challengers Bangalore player AB de Villiers got emotional on Tuesday after he was honoured by the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium a day before.
The franchise decided to retire the jerseys of RCB legends de Villiers (17) and Chris Gayle (333) as the team unveiled its new cricket kit ahead of IPL 2023. Both players were also inducted into the RCB Hall of Fame.
De Villiers retired from the IPL at RCB in 2021 with 4,522 runs from 144 innings at a strike rate of over 158 after joining the franchise from Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils) in 2011.
The former South African captain took to social media to thank his fans, RCB supporters and former teammate Virat Kohli, who was captain for the major part of his career at the franchise.
ABD thanks RCB and fans from the heart
"I don’t know where to start really..
"So March 26th 2023 Chris and I were inducted into the RCB hall of fame and our jersey numbers retired forever. My heart blossomed as my wife, two boys and little girl walked up the stairs to enter our RCB den, stairs that I have walked up so many times with butterflies fluttering in my stomach. It felt weird to walk up there in a different state of mind.
"Tears filled my eyes when I stepped on to the balcony of our dressing room at the Chinnaswamy in front of a packed stadium. I never thought hearing the chants of ABD could beat the first time, but this time was different.
"It used to be adrenalin combined with an extreme hunger to please the cry out of our fans to find a way to win, this time it was a sea of emotion that filled my body as I simply felt grateful to have had my time in the arena representing a proud city, an amazing franchise and incredible teammates.
"So many special memories rushed back as I thought of all my days spent in India since 2003, I have a deep connection with this country and its people I’ll forever be grateful!
"Thank you teammates, especially Virat, thank you RCB, thank you Bengaluru," de Villiers wrote on his social media post.
RCB host special event at Chinnaswamy ahead of IPL 2023
ABD and Gayle took centerstage at RCB's Unbox event held at the team's home ground which was attended by over 20,000 fans.
The players took a lap of honour on the field and also threw autographed cricket balls at the crowd which made a deafening noise.
RCB, which is yet to win the IPL title even after 15 seasons, will open their IPL 2023 campaign against five-time champions Mumbai Indians at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 2.
RCB last played in from of their home fans three years ago in IPL 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the tournament to go abroad in 2020 and 2021.
Last year all the group matches were played in Maharashtra while the knockouts took place in Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
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