Every so often, the sports world is rocked by the emergence of a new star in its galaxy. It is rare for a player to step onto the scene and immediately steal the spotlight, in some cases only once a generation. In the case of Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, his career was the meteorite that stole the breath of sports lovers around the globe. He will go down in history as one of the greatest batsmen the cricket world has ever known.
About AB de Villiars
Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, more widely known as AB de Villiers, was born on the 17th of February, 1984, in Bela-Bela, South Africa. The player has described his upbringing in this small town near Pretoria (formerly known as Warmbad) as relaxed, casual, and friendly, with the town’s population small enough for it to seem that everyone knew everyone.
He was encouraged from when he was a child to be involved in sports by his father, Dr. Abraham B de Villiers, who had been a rugby player in his youth. Thanks to this encouragement, the young de Villiers was given the opportunity to start playing cricket at home from a very young age.
|Name||Ab de Villiers|
|Full Name||Abraham Benjamim de Villiers|
|Father's Name||Abraham Benjamim de Villiers|
|Mother's Name||Millie de Villiers|
|Date of Birth||February 17, 1984|
|Birth Place||Warmbad, South Africa|
|Wife Name||Danielle Swart|
De Villiers attended high school in nearby Pretoria at the public school AfrikaanseHoërSeunskool, which is known for its prestigious history and impressive production of rubgy stars. De Villiers’ former teammate Faf du Plessis also claims the school as his alma mater.
Although from a young age he was proficient in several different sports, including rugby, tennis, and swimming amongst others, de Villiers finally decided to launch his professional career in the world of cricket in his late teen years.
Career of Ab de Villiars
His official debut was with the national squad The Titans in 2003, at the tender age of 20 years old. He made his Test debut on the 14th of January, 2004, playing against England in a game at Port Elizabeth. He immediately caught the eye of critics and fans alike with a good opening and appreciated and well-rounded performance. There was no hesitation as he kick-started his career with the first Test century to be registered in the series, a 109 that saved a game that looked to be a loss.
With his first Test series in the bag with impressive nods critics, De Villiers continued to impress with his batsman skills on his first away tour in 2005 to the Caribbean Islands. He racked up a staggering 480 points for South Africa on this tour.
However, despite a monumental rise at such an early stage in his career, he experienced a small slump in severalgames against Australia on a subsequent 2005 tour, where his form seemed to quaver in quality. The next glimpse of his promise came in a game against India in the 2006 winter series, where he hit his personal best score of 92 not out.
Still, it wasn’t until the 2007 home series against West Indies that he regained his footing. He proceeded to play in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, where he grabbed even more international attention. Some of this attention was negative; despite a few impressive plays and achieving his maiden ODI hundred, his batting was inconsistent and saw several low points. He even set a record by failing to score on 4 different occasions.
He proceeded to make history in a match against India on the 4th of April, 2008,becoming the first South African to score a double century against India. He made headlines with an incredible 217 runs remaining not out.
The 2008-2009 period also saw De Villiers leading his team to victory in his first test series in Australia, where he scored a century that secured the match for South Africa. This was the first match in fifteen years in which South Africa beat Australia, helping to shift tides that had been in Australia’s favor for over a decade. With the help of their new young star, South Africa began to gain international notice as the team to look out for.
His fame continued to grow with an attention-grabbing performance in the 2011 World Cup, scoring two centuries in a tournament as the first South African to ever do so. He later was awarded the title of Captain of the One Day International team. In his first match as Captain, he led his team in a record-breaking victory against Sri Lanka, with Sri Lanka suffering the biggest defeat in their team’s history with a 251-run lead. South Africa continued on to an ODI series victory, with de Villiers named as Player of the Series.
His career continued its furious upward trajectory with the sudden retirement of Mark Boucher on the 10th of July, landing him the job of full-time wicketkeeper.
2015 saw de Villiers continue to break records as he scored the fastest century by a One Day International cricket batsman. In the 2015 Cricket World Cup, he was one of the best performers with a score of 482 runs. As Captain, he led South Africa to the Semi-Finals, where they unfortunately were beaten by New Zealand. This remained a milestone in his career, as De Villiers still finished in the top three with his incredible score. By the end of the entire tournament, de Villiers managed to achieve the ranking of number 1 rating for batsmen in One Day International cricket, and number 3 in Test cricket.
January of the following year saw a second test match end in a draw, between South Africa and England, and the captaincy passed onto de Villiers for the last two games as the former HashinAmla resigned unexpectedly. February saw de Villiers score the fastest T20 fifty in South African cricket history, again securing a name for himself in the history books.
While 2016 could easily be viewed as the highlight of de Villiers’ already impressive career, he stepped down out of the spotlight for most of 2017 by pulling out of most Test matches of the calendar year. He reappeared at the end of 2017 for a match in December, replacing Faf du Plessis as captain and leading the team to victory.
He handed the captaincy back to du Plessis in 2018, however, as well as wicketkeeping duties, stating that his back could no longer physically handle it. Under du Plessis’ lead, the second Test match against Australia gave him an opportunity to remind the world of what he was made of as he scored the 22nd Test century of his career.
This proved to be the last score of his career, as on May 23rd, 2018, AB de Villiers shocked the world by announcing his retirement from international cricket.
AB de Villiers Records: 14 Most Impressive Records
• South African player with the most hundreds (23) in ODIs, all at a 100+ strike rate
• Most Sixes in a Calendar year (58)
• Most Sixes in World Cup (37, record shared with Chris Gayle)
• Fastest hundred in Tests by a South African
• Only Player in history with an over-50 average in ODIs, Test, First Class, and List A.
• Most Innings without duck, Test (78)
• Most Sixes in ODI inning (16)
• Most Wicketkeeper dismissals in Test (11)
• Greatest Number of Consecutive Tests since debut (98)
• Fastest to 8000 runs
• Fastest to 9000 runs
• Fastest 50 in ODIs
• Fastest 100 in ODIs
• Fastest 150 in ODIs
Why Did he Retire from International Cricket in 2018?<
His announcement that he would retire from all forms of international cricket was a huge and unforeseen shock to the world of cricket, to which he had been considered all but a cricket god.
When asked why he had chosen to retire at such a young age, de Villiers confessed that he was “tired”, among other reasons. He revealed in later interviews that the pressure of international cricket was so great that he found himself dreading matches and fearing a sub-par performance to the point of personal anxiety. He was quoted as saying that he’d begun to lose his love of the game due to the pressure, and did not want to end up viewing cricket as a 9-to-5 job.
He felt the expectations of cricket fans, coaches, and teammates were growing too heavy to bear—and, most of all, felt he could not continue under his own expectations of his continuing performance. He noted that the expectations felt unbearable at times.
He said in an interview that he wished to retire from cricket still at the top of his game. This is a choice that has also been made by various other players in history, who wished to be remembered for the highlights of their careers whilst they were still relevant.
A few weeks after his retirement announcement was made, he made it clear in subsequent interviews that he would still by playing in national T20 leagues for the foreseeable future, although most likely not for much longer.
As of his retirement in March, 2018, AB de Villiers holds numerous world records and awards in cricket, which include many firsts for South Africa. Over the course of his career, he played 78 T20s, 114 Tests, and 228 ODIs.