AB De Villiers : The Ultimate Allrounder
Abraham Benjamin De Villiers made his international debut for South Africa as a 20-year-old in December 2004 against England at Port Elizabeth. From that day in the summer of 2004 to the recent series against West Indies his career has undergone a drastic transformation.
During his school days he was a talented student athlete who plied his trade in golf, rugby, badminton, cricket and tennis. He held a number of accolades to his name as a student and clearly had other options apart from cricket for a career.
- He was shortlisted for South Africa’s junior national hockey team.
- He made it to the shortlist of South Africa’s junior national football team.
- He was captain of South Africa’s junior national rugby team.
- He holds six South African school swimming records.
- He holds the record in the 100m dash in South Africa’s junior athletics.
- He was a member of South Africa’s junior Davis Cup tennis team.
- He was South Africa’s U-19 national badminton champion.
- Has a golf handicap of scratch or zero, which means he is a player whose average score for a round of golf is par or better.
- He is a recipient of the prestigious national medal from the Late Nelson Mandela for a science project.
However, he chose to pursue a career in cricket and, after a spell in the South Africa U19 team got called up into the national side. In 2004 De Villiers made his Test debut as an opener partnering his then skipper Greame Smith. He immediately became the country’s second youngest player to reach 1000 test runs after the legendary Graeme Pollock.
He has since batted in the lower order, middle order, kept wickets for the side and even turned his arm around for an over or two picking up 5 wickets in the process. Over time he has established himself as a top order batsman with a good reputation for scoring quick runs. His agility and breathtaking fielding displays have at times made the fans compare him to the great Johnty Rhodes, who is widely acknowledged as the world’s best ever fielder.
With the revolution of limited overs matches through T20 cricket De Villiers became one of the world’s most sought after players, his versatile batting technique, exceptional fielding skills and reliable wicket keeping abilities made him an asset to any side in the world.
This past sunday his display against West Indies reminded us all that the quick scoring, versatile and risk taking side to AB De Villiers’s batting can be unleashed even in the 50 over format. Walking into bat at the 38th over De Villiers smashed world record 149 runs from mere 44 balls with numerous world record feats to his name in the process.
Harsha Bhogle tweeted this while covering Australia vs India match in Melbourne.
Chris Gayle who was on the field as a part of the west indies team that suffered at the hands of De Villers had this to say:
De Villiers set a number of new batting and team records during his magical innings and his name was all over social media. Facebook and Twitter saw sudden rise in traffic with relation to his name and #AbDeVilliers was mentioned over 26,000 times on twitter during his frenzy knock.
- Fastest ever ODI half century of 16 balls
- Fastest ODI century of 31 balls
- Most sixes in an innings, joint best 16
- Highest run rate for partnership of over 100 runs with 17.2 rpo with Hashim Amla during their 192 run stand.
- Only batsman to score an ODI century after coming into bat after the 30th over.
- Highest strike rate for an innings of 50 runs or more at 339
- Highest recorded score of 169 scored by a team in the last 10 overs.
Most of the social media users were male with a staggering 87.5% of total contributions of which over 38% of the total feed originating from India. Most of AB De Villier’s social media fans on social media seem to be teenagers from India aged between 14-20 with South Africa coming second.
Over the years his career has progressed at an unbelievable pace. His list of achievements for South Africa suggests to us at this point that, finally when he decides to end to his career, his name will be engraved into South Africa’s cricket books as the country’s greatest batsman to have ever played the game. De Villiers dominated the ICC test batting rankings in 2014 and as of January 2015 he is ranked 2nd in the ICC Test and 1st in the ODI batting rankings.