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Ultimate Cricket Trump Cards: AB De Villiers

Kaushal Raj
3.42K   //    17 Oct 2016, 18:43 IST
AB De Villiers
AB De Villiers has had an incredible international career

Do you remember the time when cricket trump cards used to be the trend everywhere? Those shiny cardboard strips, listing every necessary statistical detail of our favourite cricketers were the rage about a decade back.

Countless hours were spent dissecting these cards. Minute stats were remembered. To many kids of the 90s, Saeed Anwar’s 194 is still the highest ODI score ever. Every 6 months or so, a new version would out, with updated stats.

With the advent of technology and smartphones, trump cards have taken a back seat.

Fast forward a decade and FIFA is the game that has captured the imagination of the youth. Months prior to the football season, fans wait with baited breath for the latest Fifa rankings to find out if Cristiano Ronaldo would overtake Lionel Messi as the best, or if the Argentinian would retain his throne.

Every year, EA Sports gives a countdown to the top 50 players, rating them based on their performances in the last one year. This time, Ronaldo edged past Messi by a solitary point.

Taking a cue from them, Sportskeeda presents you its own rendition of these trump cards. 

We have broken down a player’s ability into various different components, judging him based on his performances over the years. Apart from these pre-defined attributes, there are also additional parameters that distinguish the player, fetching him extra points. These are listed under the “Special Attributes” category.

The second player in this series is South Africa’s AB De Villiers 

AB De Villiers


Abbreviations -

STR – Strength, ROG – Reading of the game, STA – Stamina, FOT – Footwork, TEM – Temperament, ROS – Range of shots

Bio - ‘Destined for greatness’ is a phrase that is often overused in the field of sports, but the 32-year-old from Bela-Bela, South Africa was always one destined for the greatest sporting achievements. He was a child prodigy, equally comfortable playing rugby, hockey, tennis, and cricket. 

The cricketing world will forever be grateful that he decided to make the game we love his primary focus as he went on to create his own legacy in the most unique of ways. 12 years after his international debut, he is one of South Africa's greatest cricketers ever. He embodies the T20 generation better than anyone out there, yet he remains a very competent Test batsman, averaging over 50 in the longest format of the game. He is also one of the greatest fielders in the game and is equally comfortable with the art of wicketkeeping.  








AB De Villiers is a player who puts in 100 percent every time he steps on the field. He is an unbelievable runner between the wickets who isn’t afraid to put his body on the line to save his wicket. While in the gym, he looks after the tripartite of speed, strength, and endurance to ensure he remains at the top of his game. Early on in his career, he would prefer not to travel to England to play county cricket, he rather focused on resting and preparing for the next season.

However, later on, with the expansion of the game and having to deal with being one of the most wanted names in cricket, he took on an incredible workload. After being ruled out of South Africa’s series against New Zealand a couple of months ago, he admitted that he fooled himself into thinking that he could keep going the way he was. The niggles, in the shoulder and back especially, have led him to give up the wicketkeeping gloves to extend his career. 

Despite the injuries, he remains to be one of the fittest cricketers in the world. He has cat-like reflexes and is unbelievable in the outfield. For the Royal Challengers Bangalore, he forms a deadly duo with Virat Kohli at the long on and long off positions. 








Until South Africa win a world cup, they can never walk away from the tag of being underachievers in the world of cricket. Being one of South Africa’s greatest cricketers ever, criticism is often leveled at De Villiers, that he too, has gone missing on the biggest stage. 
In the 2007 World Cup semi-final, he was dismissed for 15 against Australia in what was a crushing defeat for his nation. Four years later, as his country was chasing 222 against the Kiwis, he was run-out for 35 when it looked like he could carry his nation to the semis. In the 2015 World Cup, he played a blistering 45-ball 64 in a losing cause for his nation. 
In all ICC tournaments, namely the World Cup and the Champions Trophy, he has scored 1585 runs from 33 matches at an average of 56.6, which is better than his career average of 53. Thus, it would be unfair to lay the blame solely at his feet for South Africa’s inability to win a major international tournament. 
But until he makes a winning contribution in a knockout game, for either country of his IPL side RCB, the demons will continue to haunt him. 











Hours have been spent attempting to decode AB’s style of play. What distinguishes him from the rest of the pack is his ability to play shots to all the parts of the ground, making him a 360-degree cricketer.

While one would imagine that he has his own maverick-like technique to it, he actually has very solid technique that allows him to play the way he does. He focuses on staying in an imaginary ‘box’ close to his body, letting the ball come under his eye-line before playing a shot, preventing any miscued shots.

His mighty backlift allows him to clear the fence with huge sixes. While lifting his bat, he tries to get it down from a first slip angle, allowing to get the elevation on the shots. But most importantly, he focuses on his grip on the bat that allows him to play all around the park. He holds the bat with a firm wrist, allowing for no bending of the wrist while gripping the bat and that allows him to hit the ball in any angle he chooses. 





Special attributes chosen from a list including: Finisher, Leader, Unorthodox, Anchor, Sixes at will, All rounder, extreme fielder (WKs as well), Maverick, Nerves of steel, workhorse, variation machine, yorkers at will.

AB De Villiers is a game-changer like no-one else in the world of cricket. His ability to play shots all over the ground distance him from the rest of the pack. Images of him destroying his teammate for South Africa, Dale Steyn, come fresh to the memory as a testament of his scary power hitting. 

While there are big strikers of the ball down the ground, he distinguishes himself by having the ability to manipulate the field. While he can stand up and pull a short ball to the square leg fence, he can very easily get deep in his crease and scoop a full ball to the fine leg fence. The scary part is that AB De Villiers can produce the unorthodox almost at will, making him the bowlers’ nightmare. 

He has unbelievable strength and the ability to clear any boundary across the world with ease. He has taken a number of unbelievable catches throughout his career and still remains to be quite an able wicketkeeper.

Grand Total – 928/100



Virat Kokli vs ABD
Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers compared

The two stalwarts share a great camaraderie on the pitch and have a great understanding off the pitch as well. When compared, while they are pretty much neck-to-neck in terms of physical attributes, Virat Kohli holds a slender edge in mental attributes as he shown an unbelievable ability to perform under pressure situations.

Technically, AB De Villiers goes ahead with his ability to hit the ball around the park and gains a slight edge with his ability to keep wickets as well.
Currently, Virat Kohli is just one point behind AB De Villiers. But with the former having more years to work on his trade and improve, he might even edge ahead of AB De Villiers in the future. 
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Kaushal Raj
A 5-year veteran of the sports scene in India. Street-level football and basketball champ!
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