AB De Villiers sympathises with his close friend and Indian superstar Virat Kohli, who he played with at Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. Variously known as ‘Mr 360’ for his strokeplay and ‘Superman’ for his astonishingly agile fielding, De Villiers says he was fortunate not to have had too many bad runs with the bat during his career.
‘King Kohli’ had been going through a rough patch including two successive golden ducks before he hit 58 on Saturday. He has also failed to score a century in over 100 matches in all formats.
“As a batsman you are only one or two bad knocks away from bad form,” said de Villiers. “If it keeps coming at you it is difficult to bounce back from it.”
De Villiers says he has not been in touch with Kohli, but says the struggle becomes largely one of the mind.
“I cannot put a percentage to it but it is the mind and power of the mind which is the main battle,” he said. “You do not become a bad player overnight. Virat would know it and I know it. I think it’s the way you think and set your mind.
“You need a clear mind and fresh energy whenever you play and then you can find a way out of a hole.”
While de Villiers made plenty of money from the T20 format he is a staunch defender of the Test game. In 114 Tests between 2004 and 2018, he piled up 8,765 runs for South Africa, averaging just over 50.
“Test cricket is my number one format,” he said. “I think most players feel that way. There is nothing more rewarding than standing out there for five days with your team. It is the ultimate challenge. I do not know why anyone would say they do not want that challenge in the hardest of formats. I will stop watching cricket if Test cricket were to be no more.”