Indian Test captain Virat Kohli is all praise for his South African batsman AB de Villiers. After beating South Africa 3-0 in the recently concluded Freedom Test series, Kohli marked de Villiers innings in the final match as a classic example of “application” in the longer format.
“I have grown to be a big admirer of AB and his ability over the past few years and knowing him from a close distance. Generally, in international cricket, you tend to recognise players who are going through a great phase and this has happened with AB in the last three-four years and before that he was getting there,” said Kohli on Friday.
People interested in world cricket know AB de Villiers’ caliber as a batsman. He is renowned as one of the most destructive batsman in the world. He can bat at almost any position and can make the strongest of bowling line-up go weak in their knees. Amidst all this destructive capabilities, de Villiers played calmly by facing almost 300 balls to score just over 40 runs, trying to save his team from a defeat in the last match of the series.
“What he (AB) did in Delhi, I did not did not think he would do. Honestly, although he has done it in the past, but to do that when you are 2-0 down in a series and to have a mental strength to actually go out there and play 300-odd balls for 40-odd runs (was amazing) for a guy who is all about instinct,” said the Test captain.
“It showed the versatility he has in his game and it’s a learning for every cricketer around in the world nowadays, who thinks that application is not required in Test cricket.
Withdrawing himself from his usual attacking mindset, AB stayed strong on the crease for nearly 6 hours. But his valiant efforts couldn’t help the South Africans, as AB’s 297th ball proved to be his final ball in the series. Ashwin’s turn and bounce caught AB off-guard, leading to catch in short fine-leg. With de Villiers’ departure, South Africa’s hopes of drawing the last match also departed as the rest of the Indian bowling attack shattered all proteas wickets and ultimately won the series 3-0.
“But what he has done in last three-four years, it’s absolutely unbelievable and it’s a classic case of someone realising his strengths and taking it to every format of the game,” said the star batsman, who has played with de Villiers for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL.
“And he showed a classic case of application and the respect for a particular cricketer grows in your mind and that’s exactly happened as respect for him grew in everyone’s mind”, the right-handed Delhi batsman added.