Aakash Chopra has said that his most vivid memory of AB de Villiers is the adulation he has received from the Indian crowds, akin to the ones received by the most loved Team India players.
Mark Boucher recently revealed that AB de Villiers has conveyed to him that the latter will stick to his earlier decision of not representing South Africa again at the international level. The Proteas great reasoned that he did not want to take the spot of another deserving player.
While reflecting on AB de Villiers' international career in a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra recalled the heartwarming applause the South African has received from Indian crowds, similar to the ones reserved for the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
"If we see Indian cricket's immediate span, Dhoni, Kohli and Rohit are the three players who cause a roar when they enter the ground. I saw a similar standing ovation given to AB de Villiers before the match. It was as if he was an Indian," said Chopra.
The cricketer-turned-commentator pointed out that this experience during an India-South Africa match in Dharamsala will forever be etched in his mind.
"The kind of love and affection, and the admiration he has generated in Indian hearts. There are a few moments that get etched in your mind, which remain with you forever. This was such a moment which happened to me with regards to AB de Villiers during an India-South Africa match in Dharamsala," observed Chopra.
AB de Villiers played a 51-run knock off just 32 deliveries in that T20I. South Africa chased down the 200-run target with seven wickets in hand and a couple of deliveries to spare.
Aakash Chopra on AB de Villiers' international career
Aakash Chopra highlighted that AB de Villiers has exceptional numbers both in Tests and ODI cricket.
"His Test and ODI career numbers are wonderful. He scored 8765 runs in Tests at an average of 50.66. He reached close to ten thousand runs in ODIs, 9577 runs at an even better average of 53.50 and a strike rate above 100. That's phenomenal," said Chopra.
The former India player however observed that AB de Villiers' T20I numbers are not commensurate with his incredible achievements in other T20 encounters.
"But his T20I numbers, he has played 75 matches which are quite a few, but only 1672 runs in that at an average of 26 and a strike rate of 135. He did not hit a century and ten half-centuries. But if you see T20s, there is a difference of chalk and cheese between his T20I and T20 numbers. He is a runaway match-winner in T20s, he was the same player in Tests and ODIs but for whatever reason his performances for South Africa in T20Is were not that good," added Chopra.
Aakash Chopra reasoned AB de Villiers might not have lived up to expectations in T20I cricket due to the immense pressure on him and the roles he was assigned to play.
"It could be because the team was not winning and there was a lot of pressure on him but that happens with RCB also where the team does not win but he still does well. A little bit of paralysis by analysis. I remember a World Cup where his team decided that he does well when he comes after 10 overs," signed off Chopra.
AB de Villiers is the second-highest run-scorer amongst overseas players in the IPL, behind only David Warner. Mr. 360 has smashed 5056 runs at an excellent average of 40.77 and an outstanding strike rate of 152.38 in the 176 matches he has played for the Delhi Capitals (called Delhi Daredevils then) and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
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