Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, or in short AB de Villiers, is a former South African international cricketer. He was also the captain of his nation in all the three formats of the game. He had a long international career which spanned over 15 years until AB de Villiers retirement.
ABD is regarded as one of the most versatile batsman of his generation. He has the ability to hit the ball in any area of the ground. As a result he was nicknamed as Mr. 360. Apart from being a great batsman, he was also a great fielder.
ABD began his career as a wicketkeeper-batsman. But later he started playing predominantly as a batsman. He could bat in any slots, but mainly he preferred to bat in the middle-order. He is mainly remembered for his unorthodox shots behind the wicketkeeper. Apart from his wicketkeeping position, he fielded in the 1st slip, 2nd slip and in the cover region.
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AB de Villiers Biography
Mr . 360 was born on 17 February 1984 in Warmbad, Transvaal Province, South Africa. He really enjoyed his locality and later described it as “really relaxed lifestyle up there, where everyone knows everyone”. He got his education from Afrikaanse Hoër Suenskool in Pretoria.
His later international teammate Faf du Plessis also studied in the same school. As the school was away from his home, ABD could only return home at weekends. ABD’s father was a doctor by profession. In his childhood days, ABD’s father played rugby union. He is the main source of encouragement for ABD to come to sports. ABD has two brothers and he is youngest among the three.
In his personal life, De Villiers proposed to his girlfriend Danielle Swart after dating for five years. The proposal was done at the Taj Mahal in 2012. Later in March 2013, the couple got married in Bela-Bela, South Africa. The couple was later blessed with two sons, Abraham de Villiers and John Richard de Villiers.
ABD is a devout Christian and all through his life has stated that faith is very important to him. In an interview in 2019, ABD revealed that he is currently studying property development online. This is because he wants to start his own company in the future.
Apart from playing cricket, ABD is also an accomplished singer and guitar player. He released a bilingual pop album in 2012. The album was named Maak Jou Drome Waar. The album was made in collaboration with ABD’s friend and South African singer Ampie du Preez.
AB de Villiers Career
ABD made his Test debut against England at Port Elizabeth on 17 December 2004 at the age of 20. He opened the innings for the Proteas and scored 28. ABD made his ODI debut also against England at Bloemfontein on 2 February 2005.
Batting first, England scored 270/5 in their quota of 50 overs. In reply, South Africa also scored 270/8 and the game was drawn. ABD scored 20 runs from 56 balls. His T20I debut came against Australia at the Wanderers Stadium on 24 February 2006. He faced three balls and remained not out without scoring any runs.
De Villiers played 114 Tests and scored 8765 runs at an average of 50.66. This included 22 centuries and 46 fifties. In ODIs, he has scored 9577 runs from 228 games at an average of 53.50. This included 25 centuries and 53 fifties. ABD has played 78 T20Is and has scored 1672 runs at an average of 26.12 which included 10 fifties.
Rise to glory and low points
De Villiers became the first South African batsman to score a double century against India. He holds the record of fastest fifty (16 balls), fastest century (31 balls) and fastest 150 (64 balls). He also holds the record of highest partnership in T20 cricket (229 runs off 92 balls with Virat Kohli in IPL).
Undoubtedly the lowest points in ABD’s career is the number of injuries he had to face. He had to remain sidelined for most part of 2017 due to his injuries. He even left wicketkeeping until extremely necessary as his back couldn’t handle the pressure anymore.
De Villiers started his South African First Class career in 2003 for the Northerns. Later the Northerns merged with Easterns and was renamed as Titans. ABD started playing for them in the Sunfoil Series, Momentum One Day Cup, and Ram Slam T20 Challenge since 2004.
In the Indian Premier League, he played for Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) for the first three seasons. Then he switched sides and started playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore since 2011. He has so far played 154 IPL games and scored 4395 runs at an average of 39.95 and strike-rate of 151.23.
This included 3 centuries and 33 fifties. His highest score of 133* came against Mumbai Indians in 2015. Other than IPL, ABD has played T20 franchise cricket for Barbados Tridents, Tshwane Spartans, Rangpur Riders and Lahore Qalandars. In 2019, he signed a one-year deal with Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League.
ABD first captained the Proteas side in an ODI against Sri Lanka on 11 January 2012 at Paarl. In that match South Africa batted first and scored 301/8 in their 50 overs. In reply the Lankans were bowled out for a paltry 43 runs in the 21st over. This was their lowest total in ODIs and worst defeat in terms of runs.
In total ABD has captained in 103 ODIs and has won 59 of them. In the 2015 World Cup, he led the team to the semis. In Tests, ABD has been the captain in 3 games in which he won two and lost one. In T20Is, ABD has captained in 18 matches and has won 8 of them.
AB de Villiers Retirement
On 23 May 2018, the news of AB de Villiers retirement spread like a wildfire. Everyone had thought that ABD would surely play the 2019 World Cup and try to win the elusive trophy for the last time. However ABD himself quashed all the rumors and through a video on Twitter, the announcement of AB de Villiers retirement was made.
There was one monologue in the video which said, “I have had my turn, and to be honest, I am tired.” Later after some time, ABD himself highlighted the reason behind his sudden departure. He was quoted by cricket.com.au as saying, “It’s been unbearable at times: the pressure you have to face, performing day in and day out.”
Whenever ABD played the fans expected a lot from him. ABD revealed that the expectations from the fans were massive and he didn’t like to get so much attention. “The expectations that you put on yourself, from fans, from the country, from coaches,” he said.
ABD’s final years of his career was mostly marred with injuries. But after AB de Villiers retirement, he said that although he would miss all the action yet he would not regret his decision of quitting. “It is huge, and it’s something that’s on your mind all the time as a cricketer. And it’s definitely something that I’m not going to miss. I’m very happy to have stepped away. Absolutely no regrets,” De Villiers said.
However many believe that AB de Villiers retirement happened because of the internal politics. The management at Cricket South Africa always interfered in the selection of the players. This is why ABD got irritated and it resulted in AB de Villiers retirement.
This is because there is a law which states that the national team should include on average and across all formats, six players of colour, of which two must be black African. In the domestic level where six players of colour per side per match, of which three must be black African is a strict rule.
For this despite being the team captain, even ABD was forced to have some players who weren’t fit for the team. A major section of the cricket fans also say that AB de Villiers retirement happened because of his injuries and he was out of gas.
However ABD has always stated that winning the 2019 World Cup in the UK is his main goal. This is why he even took a break from Test cricket to keep himself fit. He said, “I want to do anything possible to get there. We haven’t lifted a trophy before. Yes, it’s important to play other formats but mentally and physically I want to be in a good space come 2019 World Cup. Hopefully by then I would still be fit, and lift the trophy with the boys.”
AB de Villiers Records And AB de Villiers Stats
Highest strike-rate in a 100+ innings
Whenever AB de Villiers came out to bat, almost everyone expected that a record would be broken that day. Just one month before the 2015 World Cup, South Africa faced West Indies at the Johannesburg.
That day ABD smashed 149 from just 44 balls which included 9 fours and 16 sixes. The strike-rate at the end of the innings was a mammoth 338.63. The next highest strike-rate in a 100+ innings belongs to New Zealand’s Corey Anderson.
Corey also did it against West Indies when he scored 131* with a strike-rate of 278.72. However the difference between the two strike-rates in a massive 60 points. The record is more spectacular because it came against a Test playing nation.
When it comes to 150+ innings, ABD still holds the record. He scored 162* in just 66 balls against West Indies in World Cup. The strike rate of the innings was 245.45. The next closest is Shane Watson’s 185* against Bangladesh at strike-rate of 192.70.
Fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODIs
This ABD records will be virtually impossible to beat. Some might go to make fastest fifty. While some might try to get to fastest century or fastest 150. But getting all the three records for oneself will be nearly impossible.
ABD currently holds all the three records for himself. He scored the fastest 50 in 16 balls, the fastest 100 in 31 balls and the fastest 150 in 64 balls. Interestingly ABD made all these records in a single calendar year, which is itself a record.
Most number of centuries at less than 75 balls
Over the history of cricket, there were many batsmen who loved to score at faster than run a ball. Sri Lanka’s former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya is known for modernizing the batting in ODIs.
He had 5 centuries which was made in 75 balls or less. Along with that he had 3 more centuries which he made in 80 balls or less. India’s Virender Sehwag has 6 centuries in 75 balls or less and another one in 77 balls.
Pakistan’s former skipper Shahid Afridi has 4 centuries in 75 balls or less. While India’s current skipper Virat Kohli and West Indies former skipper Chris Gayle has two each. But on the other hand ABD has 8 centuries in 75 balls or less. Among that 5 centuries came in a couple of years.
Most ODI sixes in a calendar year as a captain
Previously Shahid Afridi’s record of 48 sixes in a calendar year stood there for a long 13 years. It is ABD who became the first to hit 50 sixes in ODIs in a calendar year. He is also the first to hit 60 sixes in all the formats combined in a calendar year.
While Afridi had done it in 36 matches, ABD’s first 58 sixes came in just 18 games which is half of Afridi’s. Chris Gayle had previously hit 59 international sixes in 2012. ABD bettered the record by reaching the 60-mark and hitting 61 sixes.
But one record which will be impossible to break is ABD’s number of sixes in a calendar year as a captain. He has total 58 sixes in a calendar year as a captain. On the other hand the second person on the list is former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. He had hit 34 sixes as captain in the year 2000.
5000 runs at average of 50 and strike-rate of 100
There are 10 batsmen who has more than 5000 ODI runs and a strike-rate of 90. Among them there are only three with strike-rate above 100. These batsmen are AB de Villiers, Virender Sehwag and Shahid Afridi.
In another instance, there are 5 batsmen who have over 5000 ODI runs and average of more than 50. So internationally there is only batsman who has 5000 ODI runs with average of over 50 and strike-rate of over 100. This person is none other than AB de Villiers.
ABD has an average of 53.5 and strike-rate of 101.1 in ODIs. Three players in the likes of MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla. ABD will most likely remain the only batsman to have over 9000 ODI runs with 50+ average and 100+ strike-rate. He also has the highest average and third-highest strike-rate, behind Sehwag and Afridi, for anyone over 2000 ODI runs.
Most number of centuries under 60 balls
Scoring a century under 60 balls in an ODI is a very difficult task. In the history of the sport, only 14 players have managed to achieve this feat. Among them only 3 have managed to do this more than once.
ABD tops this list as he managed to score 4 centuries under 60 balls. Shahid Afridi is 2nd with 3 centuries while Sanath Jayasuriya is 3rd with 2 centuries. Ironically world’s most destructive batsman Chris Gayle has got none as his fastest century came in 69 balls.
Highest average in World Cup
Despite this AB de Villiers stats, this man could never win a World Cup for his country. In overall 23 World Cup games, ABD has the highest average of 63.53. He was very adamant to give his country the first-ever World Cup trophy.
As a result in 2015 World Cup, ABD almost single-handedly lifted his team to the semi-finals. However they failed to hold their nerve in the semis against New Zealand. ABD scored 482 runs in that tournament and finished as third highest scorer.
Second most sixes in a single ODI innings
In a match against West Indies, ABD equaled India’s Rohit Sharma’s record of most sixes in a single ODI innings. In that match ABD scored 149 which included 9 fours and 16 sixes.
The total team score was 439/2 and the Proteas won the match by a huge margin of 148 runs. The current holder of this record is England’s Eoin Morgan, who has hit 17 sixes in an innings of an ODI.
Seventh most sixes in ODIs
When it comes to hitting maximums, there is no stopping ABD. He starts off with ones and twos and then finishes off in style. Currently from 218 innings, ABD has hit 204 sixes. The leader in this record is Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, who has hit 351 sixes from 369 innings.
Second most runs for South Africa in international cricket
The right-handed middle-order batsman is the second highest run-scorer for his nation in international cricket. He has scored 19864 runs from 415 matches which included 47 centuries. South African legend Jacques Kallis tops the list with 25422 runs from 513 matches.
Second fastest to reach 9000 ODI runs
In a match against New Zealand in Wellington in February 2017, ABD became the fastest to reach 9000 ODI runs. He broke Sourav Ganguly’s 13-year-old at that time. However few months later in October 2017, Virat Kohli broke ABD’s record during an ODI against New Zealand in Kanpur.
Second highest batting average as captain in ODIs
Leading a nation from the front is not a child’s job. ABD was very much up to it and he proved it with his bat. As the captain, he scored 4796 ODI runs at an average of 63.95. He had a win percentage of 60.10 with 59 wins and 39 losses in ODIs.
Fourth highest batting average in ODIs
This is another incredible AB de Villiers stats. ABD has bailed his team out of tough situations many times. He came to bat in the middle order and stayed till the end many times. He was very consistent in ODIs and it is proved from his incredible average. Having played 228 ODIs, De Villiers had an excellent average of 53.50.