Often in life, as in modern sports, people leave unexpectedly leaving a massive hole behind them, which sometimes gets very difficult for a newbie, who comes in with a raging sense of expectations to fill in the spot.
AB de Villiers shocked the cricketing world when he announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect.
Regarded as one of the greatest entertainers of the modern era, de Villiers's skills defied expectations, and he holds the record for the fastest 50, 100, and 150 in ODIs.
It's unfathomable as to what de Villers could achieve on a cricket field. Blessed with an innate ability to hit a cricket ball 360 degrees, the South African remains one of the greatest batsmen to have ever graced a cricket field.
But, is it really justifiable to measure AB's greatness in mere numbers? The answer is an overwhelming 'No'. 'While his 360-degree stroke-play enthralled the cricketing world and left them gasping for more, de Villiers' genius was essentially built on his off-field demeanour that made him a darling of the masses and forever impinged his image as one of the game's most-loved cricketer in the history of the game.
But as they say, life goes on. While the game gets considerably poor, it offers a chance to a young prodigy to showcase his pedigree and attract the beleaguered fans back to this beautiful game.
South Africa has a plethora of batting talent in their domestic circuit, and now that de Villiers has bid adieu, here's a look at three players who could possibly replace the Proteas superstar in T20 cricket.
#3 Christiaan Jonker
With a T20 average of 28.70 and a strike-rate of 132.56, Christiaan Jonker has been making the right noises in the South African domestic circuit for a while now. Jonker has thus far accumulated 1665 T20 runs with seven fifties to his name.
Jonker made his T20I debut against a quality attack that boasted of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Kuldeep Yadav in the T20I series of India's tour of South Africa, and enthralled the world with a pulsating 49 off 24 balls, and would make for a like-for-like replacement for AB.
#2 Aiden Markram
Earmarked as the next big thing in South African cricket after he led the U-19 team to World Cup glory back in 2014, it was inevitable that Aiden Markram would get a call-up to the national team.
A flamboyant stroke-maker with a strong defense and an apprentice of Mark Boucher, Markram had an imperious start to his Test career where he averaged 55.56 in 10 Test matches, which includes two hundred against the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins in the recently concluded Test series against the Aussies.
In the T20s, Markram strikes at a strike-rate of 125.56 across 30 games at an average of 35.50 including seven fifties.
#1 Henrich Klaasen
Henrich Klaasen announced his arrival to international cricket, when he scored a swashbuckling 43 in a rain-affected match of the ODI series against India, to lead his side to a lone victory in the six-match rubber.
Having risen through the ranks with an array of consistent performances in both First-Class cricket as-well-as the shortest format of the game where he averages 34.37 in 53 matches at a bludgeoning strike-rate of 144.73 and has also stroked seven fifties in the process. Klaasen earned an IPL contract this year, where he replaced the suspended Steven Smith in the Rajasthan Royals.
One of the most endearing qualities of Klaasen is his calm demeanour and his game-sense against spin bowling which might keep him in good stead in the Proteas middle-order.