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AB makes grand statement upon return

  • Published at 02:07 pm October 21st, 2017
  • Last updated at 02:33 pm October 21st, 2017
AB makes grand statement upon return
It was a great return to international cricket for Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, one of the most destructive batsmen of the world, as he scored 176 runs off just 104 balls, featuring 15 fours and seven sixes, in his very first innings after enjoying a short break from the game. De Villiers did not take part in the three-match ODI series against England this year after the 2017 Champions Trophy in England and Wales. The right-handed batsman has also not played any Test cricket since the start of last year as he took a long break from the longest form of the game. Recently, De Villiers also lost his captaincy to long-time friend and team mate, Faf du Plessis. Many critics have raised questions regarding De Villiers’ decision to take a break from the game. South Africa are going through a transition period as they have a new coach in the form of Ottis Gibson, and also new captain in all three formats. The critics believe De Villiers should have helped out the team during this period. And so the ODI series against Bangladesh became an important series for De Villiers as he had to make a statement that he is still important in the Proteas set-up, ahead of the 2019 50-over World Cup in England and Wales. The right-hander did just that, smashing superb shots all around the Boland Park in Paarl Wednesday. This was also his best ODI score of his career. Towards the end of his knock, De Villiers was threatening to break former opener Gary Kirsten's record of 188 not out as the highest score ever by a South Africa batsman in the format. That record has stood for 21 years after Kirsten batted through the innings against the UAE in the 1996 World Cup. De Villiers’ knock was the fifth highest by a South Africa cricketer in ODIs. De Villiers reached 200 sixes (in 214 innings) in his international career. He is the second fastest to achieve the feat, only Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi (in 194 innings) betters his tally. After this stunning comeback, AB informed that he was a bit nervous at the start of his innings. “It’s great to be back. Huge privilege. The last few months I’ve been working very hard on my game and all I wanted was to get back in the side. I was quite nervous starting off. It felt like my first game again,” De Villiers told the media. “I needed a couple of months away with the family. I saw my second boy grow up which is really nice. Ottis Gibson made contact. I had met him before he was announced as the coach. I always knew he was a great guy. He wanted to know where I was headed with my career. All I told him was I wanted to get back in the side as soon as possible. I enjoyed the first off-season I have had in 13 years. I got in the gym and got fit again, and worked on a few technical things in my game,” he added. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEGQnv-HMGw AB said he enjoyed his tenure as captain and now, just wants to enjoy his cricket. He also believes Du Plessis has everything in place to be an excellent captain in future. “I had a long run as a captain. I had some fantastic ups, and also quite a few lows in between. I just felt like it was enough. I wanted to enjoy the last few years of my career. I know what Faf is capable of as captain, and I think he’s going to become one of the best leaders we have had in this country. He could be the best. We’re going to give him all the support we can,” AB explained. And so AB is back with a bang in ODIs, and T20Is. But what about Test cricket? The master blaster said he has taken enough rest and is available for Tests as well, if he get selected. “If selected, I am there. I can’t accept that I am going to be in the squad, I have been out of the squad and guys that have come in have done well. You don’t just walk into the Test team. I am going to work my way back. I am prepared to do the hard work,” he concluded. By the look of things on Wednesday, De Villiers still has plenty to offer and no doubt, the Proteas camp is happy with his return, given that they are currently in transition. If South Africa are to go far in the World Cup in two years’ time, then AB must be in the mood.
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