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AB de Villiers : The Modern Day Cricketing Genius

April 21, 2015


A genius is one who thinks beyond the imagination of the others and hits the targets which others can’t even see. A genius is one who has an obsession with perfection, one who is never afraid of challenging other geniuses. To be honest it’s hard to define a genius because what makes a genius person genius is that he is beyond the scope of the Oxford dictionary. So I, with my limited stock of adjectives won’t try to make this next to impossible task possible. But what I can do here in order to make sure that I don’t run out of words is to keep the discussion specific. Hence forget about what the dictionaries say, a genius after all is the one whose name is Abraham Benjamin de Villiers. However I can only list a few of the thousands of qualities that he has.

  1. A player beyond all conventions: I wonder at times about the significance of the conventional concepts of the game. We all know the essence of it but I can’t simply match it up when I see AB de Villiers batting. We talk about how important it is to get set before one starts playing shots. But if someone comes into the crease and plays first 6 balls with a strike rate of 450 then what to say about him!
  2. A complete batsman: A player who can play shots all round the clock. He has got at least 3 shots for every ball and only he knows whether he will slam a ball over the bowler’s head or chip over the keeper’s head. His incredible range of shots makes him the “Mr. 360 degree” and one of the toughest of batsmen to bowl against. His unorthodox shots unsettle the rhythm of even the best bowlers in the world. But as the formats change, the colors change and so does the game of AB de Villiers. The man who holds the record of a 31 ball ODI hundred has also played a knock of 33 from 270 to save a test match and has only 3 ducks in the 87 tests that he has played so far. Such a versatile veteran he is!
  3. An inspiring captain: A good performance from a captain always lifts his team up. AB has set great examples to inspire his team. His hegemony is beyond question and he is one of those who have always led from the front. When SA were knocked out against the Kiwis in the World Cup Semifinals they had a poor day in the field. We often see captains to find excuses in these cases, but AB didn’t accuse his teammates for that; rather he said that he was proud with the way the boys had performed.
  4. A livewire in the field: South Africa is a tremendous fielding side and has been like a factory producing top class fielders. But if we create a list of all time greats of fielding, his name will be right up there in that list. His commitment in the field is something what every youngster should be all eyes.
  5. A wicketkeeper on demand: In spite of not being a regular wicketkeeper he has also kept wickets even in test matches and that too for a fair bit of time. Whenever he had been behind the stumps he made sure that he was doing his duties to perfection. During that period of time he had his moments with the gloves as well.
  6. A bowler at times: Everyone was surprised to see AB with the ball during the World Cup 2015. Just goes to show that he is ever ready for any role he is asked to play. Thereby he claimed 4 sticks and raised the million dollar question once again: Is there anything else left that AB can’t do these days?
  7. Mr. Consistent: To make name is easy. But to sustain it is far more challenging. Whenever there is challenge, AB de Villiers has been right up to the task. Darker the night sky, the more the stars shine. That’s why he has been a superstar in world cricket over the past 3 or 4 years. One can’t really expect a great deal of consistency (in runs) from a batsman who consistently scores at a strike rate above 200, yet he is ever so consistent.
  8. A selfless cricketer: He is one of those who have never played for loaves and fishes. He often finds himself at the situations where he has to smash every ball and he never cares about his personal milestones. I can remember that 3 years back against Deccan Chargers he smashed Steyn for 26 runs in an over and turned the match. A boundary would have taken him to fifty and his team home, but instead of doing so he let his young partner to hit the winning runs.
  9. A great human being: Not only a great sportsman, but also a great human being is AB de Villiers. He always has a lot of respect for his teammates and for his opponents too. The way he talked at the presentation ceremony losing against NZ in the world cup semifinals, is something I will never forget. At the end of the day one has to win and the other has to lose. But we don’t get to see after losing a crunchy encounter the losing captain congratulating the winning team during the presentation ceremony before he says anything else. I was very much touched to see him praising the NZ crowd. I have never seen anyone doing that having said that the home crowd is always like a 12th man to a home side. This is an example of sportsmanship to the next level.
  10. And still counting…: Now this is just to remind that AB’s talents are not only confined to cricket. He was shortlisted for South Africa’s national junior hockey and football teams, a member of the South African junior Davis Cup team, captained their junior Rugby side and also an Under 19 national badminton champion. He still holds 6 records in national school swimming, has a golf handicap of scratch and he also recorded the fastest 100m time in national junior athletics. Even sports is not the limit, he has also received a medal from Nelson Mandela for a Science project.

We are still in the era when if someone is asked what appears after A B he will answer “C”, but I won’t be surprised if someday most of us start answering “de Villiers”. It doesn’t matter who you are and whom you support, you simply can’t hate this guy. He is not only the modern day cricketing genius but an ultimate sporting machine.

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