Ab De Villiers : There has never been a batsman who could all the stuff that AB de Villiers did with his magic wand. A player you’d create in a computer game.
The batsman who introduced the world to the 360-degree range. That he’d even think and plan to play such unorthodox shots against the best of the bowlers was in itself incredible, let alone executing them to the tee.
The South African who ruled all three formats of the game, succeeded in all conditions, on all types of pitches; easily the most loved and adored non-Indian player by the Indian fans. Not the lack of an ICC World Cup or an IPL trophy, it was his thrilling, exciting batting wherein he accessed parts of the ground perhaps previously inconceivable that made the fans make a soft corner for one of the best all-format batsmen of all time.
It was his marvelous 360-degree range, commendable temperament, plus having the conventional shots in his book too that made the fans awe at his batsmanship.
Talking more about his staggering 360-degree strokeplay, here is a video in which all of his angles, shots, range are being tracked down as AB de Villiers hammered bowlers all around the ground.
Is AB de Villiers the greatest all-format batsman?
The most difficult to think and execute of the shots are the ones behind the wicket and much finer, hitting over the keeper and the short third man and short fine leg. But AB de Villiers made it possible; his body movements work like a well-oiled machine when he goes down on his knees and scoops or ramps or guides the balls behind the wicket.
Such shots just make the bowler and fielding captain helpless, rendering them unable to think of what they could possibly do next to stop the rampage from ABD. He toys with the minds of the bowlers, with the fielding set by the opposing captain, and astonishes the viewer.
The moment AB de Villiers moves across the off-stump, you know he’s decided to take on the leg-side boundary, and in particular the ones behind square.
However, on some occasions, if the bowler tried to outsmart him and bowls wide of off, AB de still has the adeptness of scooping the ball over the keeper or short thirdman. Therein lies his greatness; of being adaptable in less than a second to change his shot and adjust the direction of his bat.
And rest – the pulls, flicks,bottom-hand jams, on-drives, straight drives, off-drives, slogs, cuts, cover drives, steers; a sensational control over his feet movements; the most difficult of all shots: backfoot hit through or over covers – are simply majestic.
Check out this video of AB de Villiers, and tell us whether you went “WoW” with every shot: