AB de Villiers’ world record breaking feats make him better than Sir Donald Bradman says Bob Willis

Category : News

BETTER than Bradman.

That’s Bob Willis’ stunning assessment of AB de Villiers in the wake of his record-breaking ODI century in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“I’ve been saying for the last 30 years that Viv Richards has to be the best batsman of all time — even better than Sir Don Bradman in my book — but I’m going to have to reassess because this guy is something extraordinary,” Willis told Sky Sports UK.

“The improvisation, the strength, the intelligence — knowing exactly where every fielder is and where the gaps are — were unbelievable.”

Willis’ comments are certainly controversial, but there can be no doubt that de Villiers now belongs among cricket’s great batsmen.

Here are five reasons why.

AB de Villiers is the only player in history to average over 50 with the bat in Test and ODI cricket with a minimum of 150 innings completed in both formats. His mean score of 52.09 from 162 Test innings and 52.39 from 171 ODI’s dwarfs the numbers of anyone to ever play the game. If the belt is loosened to a minimum of 100 innings in each format, only one other player falls into this category — current South African Hashim Amla. Remarkably, de Villiers is the only player in history to average over 50 in Test, ODI, First Class and domestic one day/List A cricket.

Much of de Villiers’ international career has also been spent shouldering an incredible workload as wicketkeeper while batting in the top five for his country. But that doesn’t seem to worry him — he averages more with the bat in matches he keeps wicket than in matches where he doesn’t. De Villiers has worn the gloves in 23 of his 98 Test matches, averaging 58.26 with the bat in those fixtures — more than six runs per innings higher than his career mark. But the difference in ODI cricket is phenomenal — in 58 ODI’s as wicketkeeper, his average skyrockets to 70.54, more than 18 runs above his overall average.

It seems that wherever he goes, whenever he goes, AB de Villiers just makes runs and the numbers back it up. Since 2008, de Villiers has averaged between 47 and 78 in Test cricket every completed calendar year, while he only averages under 40 in one country — Bangladesh. In ODI cricket the numbers aren’t much different — since 2009, his average in a calendar year has not dipped below 50, while only the cold and miserable conditions of England and Ireland have pushed his mean score below the 40 mark for an individual country.

De Villiers has long been the best batsman in the world in the Test and one day arenas and this has been reflected in the ICC’s rankings system. In ODI cricket, de Villiers has been top of the pile for over two years, during which time he has captained the team since Graeme Smith’s departure and kept wicket. While not leading the Test team, de Villiers also sat at the top of the Test rankings during that period, before Kumar Sangakkara plundered New Zealand to all parts recently and pipped him for top spot by one rankings point.

Many would think that ploughing the world’s best bowlers to all parts on the field and meticulously preparing day in, day out off the field would leave de Villiers strapped for time. But not so — he has achieved his incredible array of batting feats while recording a pop album. Brett Lee may be Australian cricket’s most renowned musician but AB de Villiers gives him a run for his money in the singing stakes, punching out beautiful renditions of power ballads such as ‘Show Them Who you Are’ and ‘Madibaland’ in his bilingual album ‘Maak Jou Drome Waar’. Somehow, we think the sound of him cracking bowlers to all parts sounds a little better …

Source: FOX Sports – January 19, 2015 / Matthew Taylor

A.B. de Villiers smashes fastest one-day century

Category : News

A.B. de Villiers took 31 balls to smash the fastest century in one-day internationals on Sunday as South Africa posted two for 439, their highest team total in this format, in the second ODI against West Indies at the Wanderers.

Described by retired Australian stumper Adam Gilchrist as the “most valuable cricketer on the planet” earlier this week, de Villiers blasted 16 sixes and nine fours in his blistering 44-ball knock of 149, bettering New Zealander Corey Anderson’s 36-ball century against West Indies last year.

The 30-year-old right-hander went down on his knees and slog-swept Jason Holder over deep mid-wicket for his 10th six to bring up his century before raising his bat and taking off his helmet with a broad smile on his face.

Coming out to bat after a 247-run opening stand between Hashim Amla (153 not out) and Rilee Rossouw (128), de Villiers set a record for the fastest half-century as well.

He reached the milestone in 16 balls, improving the previous best mark by Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya against Pakistan in 1996 by a delivery.

Known for his improvisation, the Proteas ODI captain manufactured big shots and cleared the boundary at will.

He was eventually out in the final over of the innings, one run away from shattering the record for fastest 150, currently held by Australian Shane Watson who reached the mark in 83 balls against Bangladesh.

Rossouw struck his maiden ODI century with a relatively sedate 128 from 115 deliveries, while Amla registered his highest ODI score from 142 balls.

South Africa beat their previous highest 50-over score of 438 at the same ground against Australia in 2006.

The West Indies were unlikely to chase down a world record target but managed a respectable 7-291 to give South Africa a 148-run win and a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.

The target was arguably out of their reach the moment big-hitting Chris Gayle was caught at deep midwicket off Morne Morkel for 19 in the fifth over.

Dwayne Smith, caught off a Morkel no-ball in the first over when he had four, made 64 off 65 balls and Denesh Ramdin contributed 57 off 55 deliveries.

De Villiers said he had planned to send in David Miller for the closing overs but was persuaded by coach Russell Domingo to go in himself.

“There was always going to be a lot of aggressive batting around Hash at the end,” said De Villiers.

“It just came off for me. I did a lot of walks up and down in the change room thinking about how I should be playing.

“I got fired up in the change room, I sort of played my knock before I came out to bat. Aggression was probably the main thing for me, I just wanted to go from the word go.”

The South African captain’s innings included 16 sixes, equalling the world record set by Rohit Sharma when he hit 209 for India against Australia in Bangalore in 2013/14.

He also hit nine fours in an innings which had a near-capacity crowd at the Wanderers roaring in approval.

Aware that they had witnessed a special innings, the West Indian players rushed to congratulate De Villiers. Gayle, who played a match-winning Twenty20 innings at the Wanderers a week earlier, bowed in salute as De Villiers walked past him.

Fastest one-day hundreds:

1. AB de Villiers (South Africa) – 31 balls against West Indies in Johannesburg on Jan.18, 2015.
2. Corey Anderson (New Zealand) – 36 balls against West Indies in Queenstown on Jan.1, 2014.
3. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) – 37 balls against Sri Lanka in Nairobi on Oct.4, 1996.
4. Mark Boucher (South Africa) – 44 balls against Zimbabwe in Potchefstroom on Sept.20, 2006.
5. Brian Lara (West Indies) – 45 balls against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Oct.9, 1999.
6. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) – 45 balls against India in Kanpur on April.15, 2005.
7. Jesse Ryder (New Zealand) – 46 balls against West Indies in Queenstown on Jan.1, 2014.
8. Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) – 48 balls against Pakistan in Singapore on Apr.2, 1996.
9. Kevin O’Brien (Ireland) – 50 balls against England in Bangalore on Mar.2, 2011.
10. Virat Kohli (India) – 52 balls against Australia in Jaipur on Oct. 16, 2013.

Source: The Age – January 19, 2015