Abraham Benjamin De Villiers, when someone hears the name who loves cricket, he has to make a stir. Why? Because of his class, destructiveness, and entertaining cricket. But, it is tough to believe that this gentleman quits his career just one year before the 2019 world cup.
This legendary batsman started his career at the age of 20 in 2004 in his home ground against England. He made a sublime 52 in his fourth innings and saved the team from an inevitable defeat. He also made his first test hundred on that series. In fact, he didn’t take much time to show his capability in world cricket.
Mr 360 Degree
Though he did well in test cricket, he took time in one-day internationals. In the 2007 world cup, he showed his glimpse, but that was not enough for his team. He scored more than three hundred runs, and his team couldn’t qualify for the final.
His career also can divide between two half before 2009 and after 2009. At the end of 2009, his ODI average was below 40. But, the startling fact is that he finished his career with an average of 53.66!!! Now, he is considered one of the best ODI batsmen in history.
In 2010, he scored three consecutive centuries against India and west indies (4th in the history of ODI cricket). He also showed his masterclass in the 2011 world cup. Though his team failed to reach the semi-final, AB scored 353 runs, including two centuries, with an average of 88.25. After the world cup, he appointed the captain of SA in ODI & T20s. In 2010-2015, he scored more than 5000 runs with an average of 68.97, and the strike rate was 110.32! This was the golden time of his career.
2015 was an outstanding year for AB. He played a superb 119 off 61 against India in Mumbai in a series decider. With his majestic batting, the team scored more than 400 & his team won series by 3-2. In that year, he played the most entertaining knock in modern day cricket Against West Indies, scored 149 of 44 deliveries & got the fifty of just 16 deliveries (world record) & reached the three mark figure of only 31 deliveries (world record), including 16 sixes (highest in an innings). In the 2015 world cup, he again shocked the West Indian by playing another tremendous knock at Sydney, scored 162 of 66 deliveries. He also scored 482 runs in that world cup, but his team lost again in the semi final against the kiwi. After the 2015 world cup, he faced injury many times & couldn’t play much cricket.
Despite considering one of the best ODI batsman, his test career was also astonishing. He played 114 test matches, scored almost 9000 runs with an average of 50.66 including 22 centuries.
In his first series against England, he made his first test hundred. In 2005, in his first away series he scored 460 runs against West Indies. In 2008, he made a sublime 217 against India at Ahmadabad, that was a first double hundred by a South African batsman against India. In this year he played another great knock against Australia at Perth. He scored an unbeaten 106, and his team wins that match by chasing 414. In 2010, the superman scored an unbeaten 278 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. That was the highest test score by a South African batsman before Amla’s triple century.
Villiers was a player who knew how to play with the situation. He was a player of the versatile character. In 2012, the second test in Adelaide against Australia showed his quietness and scored 33 of 220 deliveries without any boundary!!!! But, the staggering fact is that this man scored 169 of 184 balls in the next test at WACA. I Think These two test matches can define AB’s stability.
One of the greatest batsman, AB De Villiers, was not Only one of the greatest batsmen but also one of the finest fielders & wicketkeepers ever. In 2013, he took 11 catches in a test match against Pakistan at Johannesburg & scored a hundred in the second innings & became the first player in the history of test cricket to take eleven catches & a hundred in a test match. From 2012 to 2014, he scored successive twelve fifty in test cricket (joint highest).
In 2015 against India at Delhi, he scored a steady 43 runs off 297 balls, but SA lost the match. In 2018, after coming back of two years in test cricket against India at centurion in the second innings, he played a counterattacking 80. It seems to be a nothing innings in test cricket, but in my eyes, it was a significant knock, while the other batsman was looking defenseless to the Indian pacers & at the same time, it was the series decider. In his last series against Australia in 2019, he played one of the best knocks in his career at Elizabeth. Before this test, SA was down under by 1-0.
He played an unbeaten 126 of 144 deliveries, which helped his team to win the match & make the series 1-1. To him, this series-defining hundred was “one of my best.”
AB’s t20 career is outstanding as well. Played 78 international matches scored 1237 runs with a strike rate of 135.17. He didn’t play too many franchise tournament except IPL. His IPL career is much better than International T20s. In IPL, he scored almost four thousand runs with a strike rate of 150.94, including three centuries.
AB De Villiers is such a phenomenal player, who can adapt himself to any circumstances, in any condition. He is a player who scored more than twenty thousand international runs, including 47 centuries with an average of more than fifty in both formats.
But, how can you judge a player like AB only with his stats? He is a player who painted the monstrous hit like a painter. He is the only player who has a strike rate over a hundred & average more than fifty in one day cricket. He is a player who holds the record of fastest 50, 100 and 150 in One day cricket. He is a player who can play 220 deliveries without scoring a single boundary & he also can score a hundred of just 31 balls.
Some people compare AB with Lara. Yes, he can compare with him for attacking the opposition. But, his destructiveness, inept ability to play unorthodox shot can’t be compared with anyone. His destructive batting, flexible Fielding, talking invaluable catches made him a precious one for the team & modern-day great. I can certainty narrate that he is the most impactful & entertaining player in the last two decades.
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