AB de Villiers or popularly called ABD by the fans is a South African batsman famous for his 360-degree style of play. Since his debut in 2004, the pretorian has risen to gargantuan heights with his sheer raw talent and an incredible array of shots that has befuddled the fans over the years.
AB de Villiers has been a phenomenon that has completely changed the way cricketers went about their jobs as a batsman, wicketkeeper, or a fielder. With superhuman skills, he has revolutionized the cricketing field. From the iconic paddle sweeps to an incoming 150 clicks delivery to jumping on the fence to grab one-hand stunners, ABD's career cannot be summed up in a paragraph atleast, He is one of the few batsmen in cricket's history whose aura traversed boundaries and was loved equally by all.
AB de Villiers has been a part of the Northerns in the South African First Class arena since 2003. He plays for the Titans Multiply in the Sunfoil Series, Momentum One Day Cup, and Ram Slam T20 Challenge since 2004.
de Villiers only played 16 first-class matches before the selectors picked him for the rigors of international Test matches.
In the IPL, he played the first three seasons for the Delhi Daredevils. He then shifted base to the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2011. ABD will be again donning the RCB jersey in the 13th edition of IPL, being organized in Dubai this time around due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 154 IPL matches, he has scored 4395 runs at an average of 39.95 and a strike rate of 151.23. It includes 33 half-centuries and three centuries. His highest score of unbeaten 133 runs came against Mumbai Indians in 2015.
After impressing the selectors during his short stint in the first-class arena, AB de Villiers was drafted into the major league to play Test cricket. AB de Villiers made his Test debut along with Dale Steyn against England on 17 December 2004 at the age of 20.
ABD was quick to impress the cricket pundits as he stroked a well-crafted 52-runs inning in his fourth inning of Test career and saved South Africa from an imminent defeat. He also registered his first Test century in the series - a fluent 109 on his home ground in Centurion. In a matter of single series, ABD had shown that he belonged to this level.
After a brief slump in form in 2006 and 2007, de Villiers' returned early in 2008 with a blistering 103 not out off 109 balls in Durban against West Indies.
In the first Test in Perth, De Villiers scored a match-winning century to help South Africa chase down the second-highest-ever fourth innings target of 414 with six wickets in hand. This was South Africa's first Test victory in Australia in 15 years and appeared to go a long way towards tilting world cricket's balance of power after over a decade of Australian dominance.
Apart from his usual attacking style of Cricket, AB de Villiers is also known for his defensive style of cricket when the situation demands.
With South Africa struggling to save the Adelaide Test against Australia during the tour Down Under in 2012-13, de Villiers curbed his natural instincts and dead-batted his way to a 220-ball 33 in one of the more exciting draws of all time.
AB made his ODI debut against England on 2 February 2005 at Bloemfontein. England batted first and scored 270/5 in their 50 overs. South Africa too scored 270 for the loss of eight wickets and the match was tied. AB scored 20 from 56 balls.
ABD made his maiden ODI hundred, 146 from just 130 balls including 5 sixes and 12 fours, in the World Cup Super 8 game against West Indies on 10 April 2007.
His performance in the 2015 World Cup had single-handedly sent the South African side to the final of the quadrennial tournament. En route the semi-finals, ABD had hit the fastest ODI 150 against West Indies in 64 deliveries.
The face of innovation in modern-day cricket, AB's achievements in the limited-overs game are more qualitative than quantitative.
His T20 debut came against Australia on 24 February 2006 at the Wanderers Stadium. De Villiers faced only 3 balls for no runs and remained not out.
On 21 February 2016, against England, de Villiers scored the fastest T20I fifty by a South African, in just 21 balls. He completed the innings with 79 runs in 29 balls and led South Africa to a clean sweep in the T20I series
In January 2020, it was rumoured that de Villiers was in talks to make a comeback to the South African T20I side for the 2020 ICC Men's T20 World Cup. de Villiers himself confirmed the rumors but with COVID-19 pushing the World Cup by a year, the fans are waiting with bated breaths for AB de Villiers to make a comeback.
Following South Africa's exit from the 2011 World Cup, de Villiers was named as the captain of their ODI and T20I team in June. Owing to the workload and pressure, he gave up the T20I captaincy in early 2013 but continued to play as South Africa's main batsman and their first choice wicket-keeper.
AB’s first international match as captain was an ODI against Sri Lanka on 11 January 2012 at Paarl. South Africa posted 301/8 in their 50 overs. Sri Lanka were bowled out for a paltry 43 (their lowest total in ODIs) in the 21st over and suffered their worst defeat in terms of runs.
He has captained South Africa in 103 ODIs and has won 59 of those. He led the Proteas in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and they bagged a spot in the semis.
In Tests, AB has captained only for three matches and has won two and lost one. In the shortest format, he has captained for 18 matches and has won eight of them
AB de Villiers is happily married to Daniella de Villiers. They have two sons together-- Abraham de Villiers (born in 2015) and John Richard de Villiers (born in 2017). De Villiers had proposed to Daniella at the Taj Mahal in 2012, after 5 years of dating. He is also an accomplished guitar player and singer. In 2010, he released a bilingual pop album entitled Maak Jou Drome Waar with his friend and South African singer Ampie du Preez.
In a shock move after the Australian cricket team visited South Africa in April 2018, AB announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket.