Why the 2019 World Cup needs AB de Villiers
Abraham Benjamin De Villiers a.k.a. AB de Villiers or simply AB, is a legend by any definition of the term. He has achieved a lot in his glittering cricket career, and has redefined the definition of batting in the modern era.
Whenever De Villiers took center-stage, he would capture the imagination of the cricketing world with his breathtaking batting. Social media could never stop raving about him, and multiple memes were created as tribute to celebrate the genius of the man.
AB was South Africa's prodigal son, but made India and particularly Bangalore his adopted home. Such has been his popularity in India that on many occasions Indian fans have traded loyalties to support him.
Despite all this frenzied popularity though, De Villiers could never fulfill his dream of winning an ICC Cricket World cup. He came tantalizingly close in 2015 but fell painstakingly short to New Zealand by virtue of South Africa's old nemesis, the Duckworth Lewis system.
After that debacle, time and again he expressed his desire to win a World Cup. Since a player of his caliber always carries unreasonable expectations, he decided to hang up his boots at the age of 34 for the very reason, citing "unbearable pressure and family reasons".
However, South African team don't look the same without the great man. Faf Du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Quinton De Kock bring solidity to their batting, but it was AB's presence that made the team truly world-class.
South Africa are not expected to go all the way in the 2019 edition of the World Cup, but they could if AB comes out of retirement. They need his explosiveness and creativity to exert their dominance over other teams, and their current batting resources seem a little thin.
Modern day batting has gone through a metamorphosis in the last decade, and AB was, without a doubt, a progenitor in the process. In his absence, South Africa and world cricket in general have looked a little short of that extra something that makes the difference between good and brilliant.
Every team right now has a world-class batsman who is breaking records for fun. The 2019 World Cup will witness batsmanship of the highest quality, with the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Kane Williamson, Joe Root, Jos Buttler and the tainted Australian duo of David Warner and Steven Smith expected to top the run-scoring charts.
Amidst these galaxy of stars, AB de Villiers will surely be missed. He can light up stadiums in a way that nobody else can, and fans all over the world would be praying that he reverses his decision to retire from cricket.