AB de Villiers is certainly being missed in India at the moment. He is scheduled to join late with his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore due to a back trouble.
Absent along with him is also skipper of the RCB side, Virat Kohli, who picked up a shoulder injury after a bad fall during the Border-Gavaskar series. These two are important cogs of their team. The side has already started to miss their services in the first game which they lost by 35 runs to Sunrisers Hyderabad. The duo is, unarguably, the two best batsmen in RCB currently.
The two are often compared, especially when both play for their respective countries. A friendly rivalry always exists between two sportspersons, but sometimes their relationship is beyond cricket. AB De Villiers and Kohli can be put in the same bracket.
Both are absolutely best at in their crafts and have a mutual respect. Therefore, when they team up to whack the opposition together, it is always exciting to watch.
It also means sharing knowledge with each other and getting to know about each other’s playing style more closely. AB de Villiers has had the opportunity to observe Kohli in such fashion in recent years.
Pulling himself out of the ‘Best batsmen’ race, AB de Villiers clearly rates Virat Kohli as the best batsmen in the world.
“He [Kohli] is definitely the best player in the world. He has got competition in quite a few players, like Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, and there are a lot of players – with Quinton de Kock coming through – around the world.”
“I don’t think I can be the best batsman. I don’t play all formats. But I truly believe you can be the best player only if you play all formats in cricket. If you are in the top five in all three formats, that’s when you know you can really play the game.”
AB de Villiers also revealed the qualities he has made Kohli adopt in order to be a better player. He states that Kohli has become more calm and gentle in decision making which ash helped him stay more consistent.
“I am a few years ahead of him. I think I was very similar to him – played the game with a lot of passion, energy, and good skills, working hard at your game, not accepting defeat at all. He is always competitive; he is one of the most competitive people I have ever come across. I haven’t learnt that from him but it is nice to see the way he plays. His passion is something I love watching in him. He is giving me that passion in my old age.”
“Something he has learnt from me is maybe to control things a bit better, stay calm under pressure, and sometimes to hide the passion a little bit in order to make clear decisions and right decisions. We have walked the same kind of road – I have played for 13 years, he has been around for nine or ten. I think he is on the same kind of road, realising it is not all about passion and energy all the time. You have to step back sometimes and make some clear decisions. I think he really is close to achieving that, and that is maybe something he has seen from me.”
If there is any foreign cricketer who commands absolute love and respect in India, greater half of the India cricketers, it has to be AB de Villiers.
The advent of Indian Premier League (IPL) has given created a staring bond between him and the Indian cricket lovers. In recent times, he has been cheered when playing for South Africa against India.
One example of it was during his 100th Test at M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Close to 20, 000 fans were shouting ‘ABD! ABD! ABD!’ when he walked to bat, AB de Villiers has simply crossed the barrier of creating mutual connect with fans.
“It takes my breath away completely – what’s happened over here in India. I’ve enjoyed coming here since the first time I arrived here at the Commonwealth championships when I was 19 years old. It is a different culture, different experience, and I love playing in front of these fans.”
“There is so much joy and passion for the game of cricket, so it was great here coming for the Test series [in 2015]. It was my 100th Test as well. I could not have asked for a better reception and better place to play my 100th Test. It will be great to come back here for another ten years for the IPL – that is a little bit out of the question, but hopefully, as long as possible!”