Abraham Benjamin De Villiers or AB de Villiers, a name that strikes fear in the minds and hearts of all bowlers around the world in the shorter formats of cricket, is here in India to play for South Africa against the hosts in the forthcoming marathon series starting from 2 October.
South Africa played their first game of the tour against India A on Tuesday in New Delhi and lost the game by eight wickets. But De Villiers was amongst runs. Although he got out for 37 runs, he got off to a brisk start and which is why he was pushed to open the batting for Proteas in the T20 format.
There are certain statistics that Team India, Indian fans and other audiences need to know about Ab de Villiers ahead of the first T20 match at Dharamshala on 2 October.
Some stats about Ab de Villiers, popularly known as cricket's Mr. 360 degrees, can shake you up and some will bring a smile on your face.
1. De Villiers has maintained a uniform strike rate of above 100 right from the start but the shocking part is he has a staggering strike rate of 207.9 in the death overs.
This clearly means that Indian bowlers will have to send this threatening batsman back to the pavilion as early as they can. From a fan-boy point, I can say to the Indian bowlers: you plot against him, you plan against him, I am ready to understand everything, but first things first, get Ab de Villiers out cheaply!
2. He also hits a boundary every three balls in the death overs. Yet again, if Indian bowlers fail to get him out, I can see dark clouds of boundaries looming above their heads.
3. Many a time, he has been compared to Superman for his all-round abilities. He can bat, he can keep wickets, he can bowl and last but not the least, he is a terrific fielder. He holds the record of the second highest catches taken in T20 internationals.
4. Now enough of threatening facts, I would rather like to see smiling faces when they read this. Ab de Villiers has featured in seven T20 matches against India and has been dismissed seven times. His average against India in the shortest format of the game is also not that great, so Indian bowlers, you finally have a reason to smile!
5. Mr. 360 degrees aka AB, has not played a single T20 international in the Indian sub-continent. People must be raising their eyebrows when they will read this last point. Yes, he has played a lot of cricket in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and will try to use that experience in the upcoming series. But my point is, are not IPL and international cricket different? I leave that for you to ponder upon!
Meanwhile, India will take on South Africa in the first T20 of the three-match series on Friday, 2 October, at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium, Dharamshala.