Why AB is the best batsman in the world?

AB de Villiers, South African skipper, New Zealand all-rounder, South Africa, Corey Anderson, Sanath Jayasuriya, World Cup, Imran Tahir, Shane Watson

AB de Villiers has done things which are not possible for even the greatest in the game. The South African skipper, in the ODIs, has shown the ability to do the unconventional time and again during his international career. He has taught even the best fast bowlers a lesson and has written success script without taking too much pressure. The 33 year old batsman is one of the few players who averages over 50 in both Test and ODI cricket and is considered as one of the greatest fielders in the world. He has also kept wickets and has picked up wickets with the ball in his hand. Clearly, these achievements have not been seen before in the world of cricket and this makes him super natural or someone, who is above all in terms of talent.

Conqueror of on-field dimensions

Most batsmen over the years in cricket have particular areas of supremacy with their batting. Some were or are strong on the off side while there are few, who prefers leg side. The field settings are done according to the strength and weaknesses of a batsman by a rival captain but when it is about AB de Villiers, he can hit bowlers to any part of the field. The right hand batsman can hit one knee six but his switch hit and reserve sweep are simply perfect. He is without doubt above all in terms of stroke play. While batting, he uses the crease like no one else in the history of the game.

Talent in other fields

Cricket is not the only sport AB de Villiers was good at in his childhood days. He is a talented sportsman and has excelled in golf, rugby, badminton, cricket and tennis. At his school he was part of the school’s U-14 cricket team. He played golf at a good level. Rugby was the most followed sport at his school so he took it up too. He once had a flair for hockey, and made it to the U-16 side of the school. During his period as a team member his team did really well. He was shortlisted for South Africa’s junior national hockey team. AB returned to play rugby when he stopped with hockey. He was soon part of the school’s rugby team, the 1st XV of the Affies. He performed extraordinarily well and was selected for the Blue Bulls U-18 side, which had some big names who later went on to represent South African rugby at the national level. His talent is not just limited to sports. The versatile batsman is a recipient of the prestigious national medal from the Late Nelson Mandela for a science project.

Consistent Performer

He is the only player, who has never been out of touch since making his international debut. The super cool batsman has an average of more than fifty and strike rate above 98 in the ODIs. He is, in fact, the only batsman in the history of the game to have an average of above 50 (53.55) and a strike rate above 100 in the ODIs. The thing with AB is that he entertains everyone with his brilliant play and yet is consistent, which is the toughest thing to do when you are a premier batsman.

Record Holder

AB de Villiers smashed the fastest ever oneday international century in 31 balls in the second ODI against the West Indies just over two months. He hit eight fours and 11 massive sixes to beat the previous record of 36 balls by New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson, also against West Indies, last year. In the process, he also broke the record of the fastest ODI fifty set by Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya against Pakistan in 1996, who scored it in 17 balls. De Villiers bettered the record by a ball, scoring his in just 16. De Villiers innings finally came to an end in the last over of the innings. He scored a magnificent 149 runs from just 44 balls, including record-equaling 16 sixes besides 9 fours. However, he was not satisfied with this and went on to score the fastest 150 in one of the World Cup matches against West Indies recently. He took just 64 deliveries to reach 150, beating the previous best, set by Australia’s Shane Watson, by 19 balls. He finished 162 not out from 66 balls as South Africa made 408-5, the second-highest total in World Cups. Imran Tahir took 5-45 as West Indies were 151 all out to equal the heaviest World Cup defeat by runs.

Ability to switch gears

If you ask David Warner to play a sheet anchor role, it will be next to impossible for him. The Australian batsman is an attacking player, who loves to play shots irrespective of the situation. AB de Villiers has same sort of mentality but is completely different when it comes to tough situations. He can attack and defend as well in any format of the game. He saved a Test match by batting out 220 deliveries, scoring just 33 runs in the process, against Australia at Adelaide in 2012. This was not easy as AB is renowned for playing his shots but he is different from others and can make even the impossible looking task simple. However, he could have belted bowlers for sixes if the situation had demanded that.

Astonishing century maker

He has hit twenty centuries in his ODI career so far and each of his ton has a strike rate at atleast 100. AB is the first player in the history of the game to achieve such feat. His highest strike rate (338.63) in an ODI innings came against the West Indies in the match where he broke the ODI records for the fastest century and half-century. That is also the highest strike rate ever achieved by any batsman to score more than 20 runs in an ODI innings.