A B de Villiers One Of The Good Things About South Africa

By: Krutarth Vashi

A naïve me too believed the in myths, only to find out later that not all of that is true. Though I couldn’t refrain myself from calling him “Master of All Trades” while that message was afloat, after watching him, observing him and loving him play the game of cricket for the past 14 years, I certainly am sure that AB de Villiers is certainly “Master of All Trades” as far as cricket is concerned.

As the modern day great announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket, a train of thoughts went chugging through my mind reminiscing the “Master of All Trades”
One of the earlier memories of AB was way back in 2008 at Perth in a test match against Australia.
Chasing a mammoth total of 414 on what is considered as one of the liveliest 22 yards on earth, AB
comes into bat with the scoreboard reading 179-3 and 1 day and 1 session of time left. Negotiating the pace and swing of the likes of Brett Lee, Mitch Johnson and Peter Siddle, AB maneuvered the red cherry through the gaps at the WACA stitching up 2 century stands, 1 st with Jaques Kallis and later with JP Duminy, and ended up scoring a well deserved 106* of 186 balls with 9 boundaries and saw South Africa home before the end of day’s play. That was the day, in my opinion, that changed the way massive targets are viewed in the 4 th innings of a test match.

Image source: Google

Jump to early 2015, in a pink ODI against the West Indies, AB made the bowlers look helpless and
hapless as he brought the Wanderers crowd to scream out their lungs for the spectacle to be witnessed once in a lifetime. Coming into bat after a record opening stand for South Africa at 247-1, AB wasted little time to get his eyes set and started clobbering the Windies bowlers all around the park. AB started breaking records for fun as he scored 50 of 16 balls and 100 of 31 balls before getting out on 149 of just 59 balls. In doing so he hit 9 boundaries and 16 towering maximums, then the joint highest number of sixes for an individual in ODIs.

Chris Gayle bowing to AB after his Blitzkrieg In this carnage he stitched a partnership of 192 off just 67 balls with Hashim Amla, of which Amla had scored 33 off 30 balls. That was the day, when I felt that AB is definitely a human with super human abilities. Barely a few months after this carnage, AB showed a nerve of steel in 4 th test match against India at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. 2-0 down and playing for pride, the Proteas were at the receiving end of the Indian spin web. Chasing an impossible 431 on a dry and dusty Kotla pitch, South Africa employed the blockathon to save the test match. AB came into bat just after tea on day 4 with the score board reeling at 49-2 in 42.4 overs. The fourth day ended at 72-2 in 72 overs, AB batting at 11. The final day witnessed some unusual determination and nerves of steel from the Pretoria player as he kept on blocking the balls darted on the stumps and leaving those bowled away from the sticks. With getting equal aid from his partners Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis from the opposite end, AB kept on fighting the lone battle and frustrating the Indian bowlers with absolute no intention to score. AB stood on the pitch for 6 hours, facing 297 balls while scoring just 43 runs, but couldn’t save the match for his team as the in-form Indian spinners proved too good for the South African lower order. India won the match and the series, but AB made sure that the win was a hard obtained one. That was the day; AB showed the world that adaptability is an important virtue.

Everyone is well aware of AB’s antics in the Indian Premier League. Since its inception, AB has been an integral part of the league and has played some magically mind boggling innings. It is in this league that he earned the nick name of Mr. 360, as he hit fast bowlers while moving in a circle.

Image source: Google

A live wire in the field, AB could station himself as a close in fielder during initial overs and take smart catches and patrol the boundaries during the slog overs. The most recent incident was in the recent season of IPL where he leaped on the boundary and plucked the travelling ball out of thin air to dismiss Alex Hales.

Image source: Google

AB had the aura of slipping into any role with utmost ease and bringing out the best from it. When South African veteran keeper Mark Boucher had an unfortunate end to his career due to an eye injury on field, AB stepped up and donned the mitts for South Africa and affected 17 stumpings across formats. A couple of test wickets and 7 scalps in ODIs stand a testimony to the fact that AB was genuinely an all-rounder in its true sense.

Image source: Google

An illustrious career spanning over 14 years and more than 8500 runs in tests and 9500 in ODIs at an average of above 50 in both shows the quality of the player. A player who is equally loved in all parts of the world, a man who shows great humility on and off the field, a team player, a leader, a front runner and as Virat Kohli described him once, “He would play with one hand and one leg if his team is in need.”
AB initiated the modern day cricket, AB showed the world how slogging is done with unorthodox shots, AB defied laws of physics while fielding, AB lead his team with pride, AB made people fall in love with the game, AB is definitely “Master of All Trades.”

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