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ABCDE – AB Can Do Everything

A player par excellence like AB de Villiers calling it a day shocks the entire cricketing world. He did his role as captain very well, kept wickets for South Africa when star wicket-keeper was not available, and had a hand in 121 test catches, apart from 78 one day catches and 44 T-20 catches will be missed for ever. His batting was confidence personified, de Villiers taking up the challenge when the chips were down for his team. We see a Vivian Richards or Garfield Sobers in his stroke making with an extraordinary power. He played test cricket with panache for his pet shots, batted with power in one day cricket and testified his role as a quick hitter. In all, he was an all rounder cricketer and his retirement not only stumps the fans as well as his team mates.

In the absence of regular wicket-keepers, AB has kept wickets too, and has an impeccable record. Behind the wickets, he has 227 scalps under his name while, he has 181 and 72 in ODIs and T20 internationals respectively. In IPL, he has represented Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore. De Villiers has played 251 T20s and has scored 6,649 runs at an average of 35.36. His highest being 133 not out at an impressive strike rate of 147.91 with three centuries.

The 34-year-old swashbuckler, a fan favourite for his innovative stroke play and power-hitting, posted a video on his Twitter page to announce the big decision. After watching your video on retirement, I understand and respect your decision. You are a star for so many cricket lovers around the world and it is such a pity that you are retiring a touch early. All the very best for your future.

He has played 114 Tests and scored 8,765 runs at an average of 50.66. He has also taken two Test wickets. His highest score was 278 not out and also has 22 centuries against his name. Making his Test debut against England in 2004, de Villiers has been one of the star performers of South Africa. He has been a 360 degree player in ODIs and T20 Internationals. De Villiers has played 228 ODIs and scored 9577 runs at an impressive average of 53.50. His highest score in ODIs was 176 at an strike rate of 101.09. He has scored 25 centuries in ODIs. He made his ODI debut in 2005 against England. In 78 T20 internationals, AB has scored 1672 runs at an average of 26.12. He made his T20 international debut in 2006 against Australia.

Sad that he has decided to call it a day. He has also tried to lay down a good dictum (that a player should be available to play all forms or else retire). Of course, this had perhaps dawned on him after consistent criticism that he was avoiding Tests (he had a long lay-off from that form) with Prince calling his protean defenders as being partisan. There are lessons here for Indian defenders of (in the past Sachin or Dravid or Laxman) MSD that such players have earned the right to decide which form they want to play! High time MSD also calls it a day from ODIs and T20Is or else play Tests as well. In English alphabets we will be missing A, B and D from now on.

AB de Villiers is known by various nicknames such as ABD, Mr 360, Superman etc. Sunil Gavaskar gave him a new nickname in the recent concluded India VS South Africa series as: ABCDE – AB Can Do Everything.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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