AB de Villiers: Redefining World Cricket
Mr. 360 of world cricket, AB de Villiers took a 180 degree turn to complete the circle of his international cricketing career as he announced his retirement from all forms of the game on Wednesday, May 23.
“After 114 test matches, 228 ODIs, and 78 T-20 Internationals it’s time for others to take over. I have had my turn and to be honest, I am tired.” said the video message on the South African’s Twitter handle.
This unprecedented move of the champion batsman came as a shock for the cricketing fraternity across the globe who expected him to continue, at least, until the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
His uniqueness humbles not only his team members but also the opposition he plays. The South African receives cheers at almost all Indian venues even while playing against the national team, such is the love for this ‘foreign Indian’, who plies his trade for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Of all the adjectives attributed to him, AB de Villiers would be remembered for his style of playing cricket – his unorthodox, non-text book and innovative strokes, his stance at the crease, and his ability to hit the bowler in almost any direction.
His reflexes on the field have earned him a tag of being superhuman. His recent catch of Alex Hales while playing for RCB, wherein the 34-year-old leaped in the air, grabbed the ball with one hand, and landed on two feet, stands testimony to it.
AB de Villers began his career when he was fast-tracked into the national side at the age of 20, succeeding wicket-keeper Mark Boucher. The cricketer has scored 9577 runs in his 288 matches with an average of 53.50 in One-Day International cricket, crossing the three-figure mark 25 times, the most by a South African.
On January 18, 2015 in an ODI in Johannesburg, ABD as he is famously known, dazzled the world with his 44 ball 149, scoring the fastest hundred, which came of just 31 balls. He also holds the record of scoring the fastest fifty (16 balls) and the fastest one hundred fifty (64 balls).
In test cricket the former South African skipper has managed to amass 8765 runs at an average of 50.56 in his 191 appearances. His run tally places him fourth, behind Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, and Hashim Amla, in the list of leading run scorers for South Africa.
A notable innings of the cricketer in the longest format is his 33 off 220 balls. It was a deliberate attempt of the then skipper to save his side. The cricketer displayed an enormous amount of perseverance playing at a snail’s pace to take his side home. This innings displayed ABD’s immense ability to change his playing style as per the situation his team faced.
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers was rumoured to be considering retirement in late 2015 and more recently in mid-2017 after an elbow impingement injury forced him to sit out for six months.
Following allegations, that the decision was one of frustration which came after his inability to win silverware, after the Royal Challengers Bangalore were knocked out of the IPL. Dr. Aron ‘Ali’ Bacher (former South African test captain) remarked that the decision was purely personal and had been taken after the player was reported to be going through immense amounts of physical and mental stress.
With only one year left for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, his absence in the third placed ODI team in the ICC rankings has created a void which would be difficult to fill within the period.
AB de Villiers will always be remembered for his trend-setting batting and his role in redefining modern day international cricket.
Featured Image Courtesy: Twitter/ICC
Edited by: Tarush Dhume