At 32, South Africa’s AB de Villiers still has a few years of cricket left in him, but the Proteas’ ODI & Test skipper has already earned cult status in the game thanks to his extravagant batting style and match-winning ability. So when somebody of his stature makes a claim about an upcoming cricketer, especially from outside his home country, it's hard not to pay attention.
Currently playing for Barbados Tridents in the Carribean Premier League T20 competition in the West Indies, which like other T20 competitions around the world has given promising cricketers the opportunity to go shoulder to shoulder with the established stars of the game. The South African legend has high hopes for Australia’s Alex Ross, who bagged Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year award at the Allan Border Medal event in January.
The two came face to face with each other during Tridents’ clash with Jamaica Tallawahs earlier this week and though the match got called off due to unprecedented rain, much to the crowd’s disappointment, the players made the most of the opportunity by having an interactive session in the dressing room.
It is hardly surprising that De Villiers and Ross bonded well despite being on opposite sides as both players are known for their big-hitting abilities. But what could have made the connection an instant hit was the duo’s connection with the game of hockey; While De Villiers' is well known for his sporting all-round abilities, having dabbled in tennis, rugby, badminton, hockey and swimming with much success during his younger days, Ross also grew up playing hockey, before making a successful transition to cricket.
Ross impressed in the fifth edition of the Big Bash League for the Adelaide Strikers so much that he has been the subject of a controversial-yet-successful bid from rivals Brisbane Heat. He also made his mark for the West End Redbacks in the Matador BBQs One-Cay Cup as well as in the Sheffield Shield ending up as the second highest run-getter behind captain Travis Head.
Cricket Australia has high hopes from Ross, who will be representing English county club Yorkshire after the culmination of the CPL, and De Villiers is certain that Ross can live up to the hype. In fact, De Villiers gifted Ross a signed Kookaburra bat from his kit bag with a personal message for the Australian – "Look forward to watching you become a legend. Keep hitting them long."
Ross, quite active on social media, was all too happy to share his joy with an Instagram post featuring his click with De Villiers.
Published 17 Jul 2016, 17:22 IST
A photo posted by Alex Ross (@alexross49) on Jul 11, 2016 at 9:46pm PDT