Abraham Benjamin Devilliers as a cricketer was beyond the numbers for the cricket fans. Never ever an overseas cricketer was worshipped as a demi god in India. The AB-AB chants will still sound afresh in your ears. And when he decided to hang up his boots, it left tears in the eyes of cricket fans across the world and particularly India where he was so loved. Bengaluru was his second home and he loved playing there.
The most charismatic and innovative cricketer of this generation, AB was a real entertainer, a natural successor to Brian Lara’s legacy. People always enjoyed his success even if it came against their home team. The ovation AB got at Wankhede in the series decider in 2015 tells you everything. He kept smashing Indian bowlers and the crowd kept cheering him. The best part about his batting was his fearlessness. At times, he was reckless which led to his downfall but you can’t entertain people without being fearless.
Now coming to some numbers to describe his career, AB was the only batsman who finished his ODI career with an average in excess of 50 and strike rate of 100. His test average was also 50+. He scored 5 ODI centuries while coming back after 25th over while the rest of the world has scored 4 only (2 by Kohli and 2 by Buttler). A lot of people criticized or trolled him for not winning a world cup but little did they know that he was never short of any effort in the most prestigious tournament and his average of 63.52 and strike rate of 110 is a testimony to that fact. The fastest ODI century and 150 belonged to this man. Who can forget his 31 balls 100 against WI in pink jersey for SA and then 162 off 66 a couple of months later in the world cup against the same opposition? None! What’s more unbelievable to his game was his ability to adapt to any condition. You won’t see his numbers being bad in any country. A guy for whom hitting sixes was fun, had to carve his instincts on the 5th days of two test matches, one in Adelaide and the other in Delhi where he scored 33(220) & 43(297) respectively. Unfortunately, his side lost the Delhi test but that showed he wasn’t only a free flowing batsman but he had the ability to adapt to any kind of challenge.
However, AB was very erratic at the start of his career and he himself used to admit it in different interviews. After starting his career in 2004, he showed glimpses of his talent in only his 4th inning where he scored a 50 to fight a draw for his side. He rose among the ranks to become one of the finest batsman ever to play this game. If his orthodoxy in test cricket left you perplexed then, his innovative skills in limited overs cricket often rendered bowlers speechless. He was a kind of player you can only imagine or perhaps build in a computer game and ABD treated the game like a computer game or book cricket only where all the pages of the book were carrying 4 or 6 only.
” Play with a straight bat, play in V, play along the ground” – Normal Coaches.
AB Devilliers – LOL, I will play in V but in the opposite direction and will still score lots of runs.
But AB Devilliers might not have been as loved in India as he’s now, had he not played for RCB in IPL. His brotherhood with Virat Kohli has always been adorable and both cricketers have a lot of mutual respect for each other. Some of his finest IPL knocks include 79 against Gujarat Lions in Qualifier 1 in 2016, 89 against SRH in 2014 when he took on a clueless Steyn in Bengaluru and lots more which are hard to put in one place.
One might still argue that what was the need of the retirement so early? Yes it definitely seems a legit question. He was still changing the coarse of test matches whether against India or Australia. He was still taking breathtaking catches on the boundary but he said he was tired. It’s obviously hard to believe but with the amount of cricket going on these days, one can believe he would have been tired. It has definitely dented Proteas chances of winning the much awaited WC next year and AB could have waited for it before calling it off. He should have been allowed to pick and skip between series. Yes, a board needs to protect its best cricketer in order to achieve something. Nevertheless, none of these things happened and the Alien has gone back to his planet for resting his body after entertaining everyone on the earth. His retirement has definitely left a void in the game. Dear AB Devilliers, Thank you for everything you did to the game and the fans,thank you for being such a great ambassador of the game. you’ll be dearly missed. You owned this game.
– From all the cricket fans