Is running between wickets AB de Villiers' Achilles' heel?
Inzamam ul Haq is often ridiculed for his running between the wickets. He has been run out no fewer than 40 times in his ODI career (the most memorable one being his run out against South Africa in the 1992 World Cup) and has run his partner out many a times as well. Inzamam, though, is not the leader of the list of maximum run outs. Marvan Atapattu has been run out 41 times while Rahul Dravid was also found short of his crease by an accurate throw 40 times.
Mahela Jayawardene, Mohammad Yousuf, Wasim Akram, Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin are the next 5 names in this list. It does not take too much effort to see the link. Yes, they are all Asian cricketers.
Running between the wickets (and fielding) is an agile man’s forte. It can, thus, be understood why we keep seeing names of Asian players topping the list of run outs.
Most ODI run outs since November 2006
However, currently someone is changing that norm. He is possibly the best fielder in International cricket right now and is swift as a hare between the wickets. But he tops the list of most run outs in ODIs since November 2006.
You might have understood by now, I am speaking of AB de Villiers.
De Villiers is not only a run-saving fielder but also a wicket-taking fielder. In addition to saving 10-15 runs per match on a regular basis, he has taken some stunning catches and affected some freakish run outs (including the run out of Simon Katich in 2006 which is possibly the best ever in ODIs).
He is also extremely quick between the wickets – a player who can convert dots into ones, ones into twos and twos into threes. However, this nature of his often gets him run out as well. Since his debut, he has been run out as many as 17 times in ODIs.
Considering the fact he is a top batsman for his team, some of his run outs have lost his team the game from crucial junctures. He doesn’t need to look too far to know the kind of bearing his run outs have on a match.
The stylish right hander, who was in red-hot form in the 2011 World Cup, was run out in the Quarter Final match against New Zealand. His team quickly slipped from 121 for 3 to 146 for 8 and finally went on to lose the match comfortably and get knocked out of the World Cup.
After yesterday’s match against India, the South African captain pointed out that “run outs” cost his team the match. To be precise, it was his run out that proved to be the turning point of the match.
AB de Villiers is a freakishly gifted player but he might have to curb his knack of taking undue risks if he wants to prevent another premature World Cup exit.