AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers
17th Feb 1984
Royal Challengers Bangalore, South Africa, Titans
AB de Villiers is the classic modern-day batsman. When out in the whites, his cover drives are a sight to behold, a throwback to the days of Mark Waugh when right-handed batsmen could hold a good debate with their left-handed counterparts on the subject of elegance. Cut to the shorter formats of the game, and AB is equally prized as an innovator, a creator of shots much like Tillekaratne Dilshan and others of the Twenty20 factory. But more than all of that, AB is an almost complete sportsperson. He is only a shade below compatriot Jonty Rhodes when it comes to plucking balls out of thin air, he keeps wickets when his team wants him to or the fancy catches him, he is a super sprinter between the wickets and, of course, has batted at pretty much every position possible for a top-order batsman. Off the cricket field, AB plays a decent game of rugby, tennis and golf, if his mates are to be believed. His potential had been recognised early enough, and AB made his Test debut soon after South Africa’s 2003 World Cup debacle when the selectors were trying to put together a new and young team under Graeme Smith. But it wasn’t smooth sailing for the first part, maybe because of AB’s famously cavalier attitude towards life. Till the turning point in 2008, when he scored the first Test double century by a South African against India - 217 not out in Ahmedabad. Some would say that with an average of just under 50, he has just about lived up to his promise in Test cricket. But couple that with a similar average in One-day internationals and a blistering strike rate to boot, and you know why he is always one of the most sought-after names during the Indian Premier League auctions. Delhi Daredevils got lucky to start with, and since then, it’s been Royal Challengers Bangalore.