A.B. de Villiers – Mr.360

A.B. de villiers,  Mr. 360  

Courtesy : timeofsports.com

South African star performer A.B. de villiers, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on November 19, 2021. ABD, widely known as Mr. 360 degree, ended his 17 years cricket career where he played 114 tests, 228 ODIs, and 78 T20Is for South Africa.

In a statement released, De Villiers said: “It has been an incredible journey, but I have decided to retire from all cricket. Ever since the back yard matches with my older brothers, I have played the game with pure enjoyment and unbridled enthusiasm. Now, at the age of 37, that flame no longer burns so brightly,” the South African said.  “That’s the reality I must accept – and, even if it may seem sudden, that is why I am making this announcement today. I’ve had my time. Cricket has been exceptionally kind to me. 

“I’m going to be an RCBian for life. Every single person in the RCB set-up has become family to me. People come & go, but the spirit & the love we have for each other at RCB will always remain. I’ve become half Indian now & I’m proud of that.”

The cricket world watched with awe this sudden bid adieu from all forms of cricket by ABD, a great cricketer.  The bowlers will heave a sigh of relief on this announcement.

The face of innovation in modern cricket that Mr.360, ABD is associated with, either with the scoop over the wicket keeper’s head or inside out stroke, it was a pleasure to watch ABD’s stroke-making, an artistic encore. 

It was a nightmare for the bowlers to bowl to him.  A ubiquitous ABD is used to cart any bowler in any part of the ground.  Some of his shots were breathtaking chutzpah and enterprising.  

In his boyhood days, he was a fine rugby player, golfer and tennis player besides cricket.  Cricket is lucky to have such a fantastic player.

De Villiers made his international debut in the Test at St.George’s Park, Port Elizabeth in 2004 against England as an opener along with Dale Steyn, the speedster.

Then he moved to the middle order position where he batted and treated the bowlers with utter contempt. He has become a household name in the Rainbow country. He was one of the few batsmen who batted from No.1 to No.8 position.

Though runs were drying for him in a couple of years in 2006 & 2007, he blasted his way into reckoning in 2008 with an audacious century knock in Durban against Windies and from there he never looked back.

His exemplary batting in 2008 saw the Proteas topple India, England and Australia in their own backyard.

First, he hit a masterly double century at Ahmedabad and South Africa inflicted an ignominy of Innings defeat and became the first Proteas player to hit a double whammy against India.

Then his scintillating 174 at Leeds against England helped South Africa to a first series win after their readmission.

His never-say-die spirit also helped a first series win against the Aussies after their hibernation with a well crafted century at Perth.

And a whopping 1061 runs to finish the year 2008 with his batting.

His career graph grew high in 2010 also almost a repeat of 2008, when he amassed 996 runs including an unbeaten mammoth 278 runs in Abu Dhabi in the Test against Pakistan.

He was blossoming into a great batsman of all time in the South African team.  

In 2013 he again hit a purple patch in Tests aggregating 933 runs which helped the Proteas to keep the Test mace with them claimed by them in 2012.

His ODI deeds were overwhelming as in a span of spreading over a decade from 2005 to 2018 his sublime performance with the willow blossomed.  

His fastest century ( off just 31 balls) and fastest half-century ( in 17 balls) in ODI were testimony to his batting prowess.

His sublime form in batting continued in ODIs also as in both 2011 WC ( he hit 2 centuries ) 2015 WC reached its peak was evident as 353 & 392 runs respectively and earned him the captaincy in 2015. He led the team admirably in 2015 when they reached the Semi-Final and were outplayed by the Kiwis team.

In T20 cricket his clean hit earned him laurels and accolades and was sought after by the different countries league teams including IPL.

His pyrotechnics in batting in T20 League format was a treat to our eyes.

His fielding was exceptionally good, especially in wicket keeping. 

He has been ranked among the top Test and ODI batsmen in the world and has established a cult-like following in T20 cricket, where his performances in the IPL have earned him a legion of Indian fans.

Unquestionably, with his ability to maneuver the field, his excellent hand-eye coordination, and his ability to cause the illusion that the bowler has bowled a poor ball, makes him a  revelation in the modern game.

His batting career illustrates his supremacy across formats.

Format      Matches   Runs        Hs      100s/50s       average

Test           114          8765           278          22                 50.66

ODI           228          9577           176          25                53.50

T20            340         9424           133            4 ( 50s)       37.24      

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