Before achieving prominence with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the South African batting maestro experienced three relatively subdued seasons with the Delhi franchise, now recognised as Delhi Capitals.
However, during a team meeting, attended by the dynamic Australian opener David Warner, de Villiers was informed of his “retention,” only for the franchise to release him before the 2011 auction.
Recalling the incident in his YouTube channel, ‘AB de Villiers 360’, the former South African skipper said: “When I played in the 2010 season, I got called into the office and was told ‘you are going to get retained, young AB de Villiers’.”
‘It’s not a nice feeling’
“I sat alongside David Warner in that meeting. It came as a huge surprise to me a week or two later when I realised I had been released.
“It was a huge blow for me!” | My reaction to an IPL trade | 360 Show S03E11
“So the communication wasn’t great back in the day, that must be different these days but it’s not a nice feeling,” De Villiers added.
The 39-year-old said it was a huge blow and he was very nervous before the auction.
“You’re unsure of your career, at that time in 2010 I think I only played five games in that IPL season so a lot of doubts crept up in my mind.
What changed ABD’s life forever
“But I did have a very good international season. I kept playing good cricket and luckily for me the auction happened and I got picked up by RCB, and it changed my life forever, so great memories with regards to that.
“I was so nervous. Then I got the news from Twitter that I was picked by RCB and the next moment Virat (Kohli) called.”
De Villiers went on to mesmerise the Indian fans with his stroke-making and formed a dream combination with star batter Kohli at the top of the order for 11 seasons.
De Villiers said the released players should not feel disappointed as it’s not the “end of the road”.
“For all the released players, it’s not the end of the road, keep a close eye on the auction. But if you’re not picked up, it gives an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and work even harder,” he added.
(With PTI Inputs)