|BORN||February 17, 1984|
|BATTING STYLE||Right Handed|
|BOWLING STYLE||Right-arm medium|
Once in every generation comes an athlete who redefines the meaning of the game. They are born with an abundance of talent, immense amount of natural ability, and they could do things which others could only dream about. Roger Federer is that athlete for Tennis, Tiger Woods for Golf and for Cricket, it is Mr. 360 - Abraham Benjamin de Villiers.
De Villiers debuted in late 2004 against a visiting England, partnering Graeme Smith as an opener. In his second Test in the same series, he replaced injured Mark Boucher and took over wicket-keeping duties from the veteran. It also led to some chopping and changing in the batting line-up as he was demoted down the order. The move worked well though as he scored a fifty in the second innings of the Test which got his career going. In the last match of the series, back as an opener, he went on to register scores of 92 and 109 while opening the innings and announced his arrival in Test cricket with a bang!
However, in ODIs, it took a while for ABD to find his footing as he recorded his first half-century on his 17th attempt, against Australia. Once fully settled with the international duties, he became one of South Africa's most consistent performers in all three formats and became a mainstay in their side. All this despite not having a defined role in the batting order as he was deployed as an opener, middle or lower order batsman, depending on the situation. The right-hander had no qualms in adapting to any of them and took every opportunity in his stride. His prowess behind the wickets was highly regarded as he was touted as Boucher's eventual successor and he was often called to deputize for him as well.
AB de Villiers' presence in the South African batting line-up was vital. He was a major factor in registering historic wins in Australia and going on a 3-year unbeaten run since 2007. He also helped his team to a semi-final berth in the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, restoring respectability after a poor showing in the tournament's previous editions.
In the year 2008, he stroked a double century in Ahmedabad and became the first South African to do so against India. Later in 2010, he notched up the highest individual score in Tests for the Proteas when he scored 278* which was surpassed by Hashim Amla after he cracked a triple ton against England in 2012.
Consistent performances over the years gave the Proteas a new ODI captain in de Villiers, when he replaced Graeme Smith in 2011, post the World Cup. AB showed his mastery in the Test arena as well as ODIs as he topped the ICC batting rankings on several occasions and played a momentous role for South Africa in their quest to return to the pinnacle of cricket.
AB was a hot-buy in the Indian T20 League and started off by representing Delhi until he moved to Bangalore for the later seasons, where he was retained by the team. He also represented the Titans in South Africa's domestic T20 competition and was an important player for all the three above teams.
De Villiers was one such player who possessed the ability to destroy best of the bowling line-ups with his effortless yet aggressive batting style. One such instance came in the 2015 World Cup in Australia when he destroyed West Indies' bowling and went on to score 162 runs off 66 balls, leading South Africa to their second-highest total in World Cup history (408) at the Sydney Cricket Ground. A month prior to the mega event, he had scored a 16-ball fifty and 31-ball century against the same team.
The ability to offer dead bats, classical drives, flicks and pulls and his instinctive nature to innovate in manners, unimaginable to the cricket-kind, de Villiers turned into one of the most dangerous cricketers the sport has ever seen.
On May 23, 2018, AB de Villiers announced his shocking retirement from all forms of international cricket and jolted the entire cricketing world with his decision. After 114 Tests, 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is and a combined total of 20,014 runs in international cricket, he said 'I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired. It is time for others to take over.' At the time of his retirement, he held the record for the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODI history.