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AB de Villiers: Straight drive from South Africa to our hearts

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777   //    Timeless

South Africa v West Indies - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

The toughest thing would have been to write about AB de Villiers completely in past tense or use terms such as “former cricketer”. But, given his decision to be a part of the IPL and the PSL, it is safe to proclaim that the “AB madness” will continue.

Ab de Villiers’ impact on the game and youngsters is a profound one. Forget about entertaining us big time and putting a priceless expression on our faces, he surprises himself with his wide range of shots, execution of the chosen shot and the power he imparts on the ball. His exploits at the batting crease are like an incredibly thrilling adventurous ride for the viewers.

The attribute that stands out is his adaptability to different formats, demands, situations, and conditions. He can pounce upon from ball one to shift the momentum completely on one day and show a dead bat the next day to save a test match. Within a single innings of his, there are multitude aspects to take a cue from such as how to build an innings, when to defend and when to go berserk, reading a bowler’s mind and clarity of thought process to list few.

His passion for the game, unwavering desire to win contests, hunger to bounce back from lean patches or injuries need not mandate separate mention.

ABD is a pretty good bloke too, isn’t he? He has immense and equal respect for every player and official. Likewise, he has no partiality towards any part of the ground- Mr. 360 is a tag the people go gaga over. The mixture of elegant drives, traditional strokes and then those exotic scoops, ramps, reverse sweeps at the other end of the spectrum imparts a fulfilling experience of watching batting.

At times, he forgets that there is a field on which there are 14 other people. He takes the aerial route and deposits the ball either into the stands or out of the stadium. That is perhaps his way of depicting his love for the fans and the crowd who have been magnificent with their cheering and support for him even if it was an SA vs IND bout.

Former and current players, TV Presenters, fans have all been very effusive in their praise and have come up with great words and quotes on him. While Aakash Chopra has demanded a DNA test of AB fearing he is from a different planet, Adam Gilchrist has earmarked him as the most valuable player.

Sunil Gavaskar has expanded ABCDE as “AB can do everything”, Harsha Bhogle thinks AB has his own version of “V” (behind the wicket in contrast to in front of the wicket between mid-off and mid-on) and Dravid and Laxman regard him highly for taking batting to a different level.

A short poem with an ABAB rhyme scheme and a letter within this write-up might be the best bet to convey the fans’ admiration and love for AB:

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The Cricket experts and the fans refer to you as a “Freak”,

Thanks to you, batting and fielding have taken a different level AB.

Your hard work, dedication and passion is the secret behind your run streak,

No wonder people of all ages love watching you bat—a 70-year-old or a baby!

When the match is even, and the spectators are tense,

You pluck a catch out of nowhere like a Spiderman!

You always seem to be in the right zone with a great game sense,

And your instincts and game plan have earned you the tag Superman.

Hey AbD,

C for Cricket completes you. Your name AB de can perhaps be correlated to a number of plans against a bowler or opposition that you have up your sleeve-plan A, plan B, plan D, plan E and so on.

Your batting and persona transcend regions, cultures, and nations. It is said, “Too much of anything is bad”. But, definitely not, if that “anything” is joy. Who would have ever imagined that combination of being humble and merciless on the field will have this kind of an impact on batsmanship!

You maintain that your secret has been “To watch the ball”. But, we presume you have not watched whether it was a fast bowler or a spin bowler bowling. Imagine our plight, it is a nearly improbable task to understand how you handle pace of 145-150 Kph in a fashion that the “Yoga-purists” would be truly proud of. To cap it off, you almost wear an apologetic look feeling sorry for the bowlers and the opposition camp. Oh! I am surely not the only one envious of the Chinnaswamy crowd.

A cricket follower once claimed that the smallest unit of time is the time taken by you to change your mind into playing a cover drive having initially aimed for leg-side. You surprise us every time with your shot-making and acrobatic fielding.

For once, it is our turn to throw a surprise here- a switch from compliments to two candid complaints:

When you were in full flow, many bowlers, during their run-up, desperately wanted God or a superior power to lead them anywhere except to the popping crease.

There have been countless occasions the job of a commentator or a Cricket expert hung in balance as their repertoire of English vocabulary could not quite keep up with your on-field magic- maybe it is time for new adjectives to make their entry into the English dictionary.

Post your “retirement with immediate effect” and “no intentions of playing overseas” statements, most of us made plans for premium subscription of video platforms to revisit your breath-taking knocks for South Africa and in IPL. We are glad you will be around for few more years to spread joy and to create more memories.

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