Johannesburg-based batting great Graeme Pollock hails Royal Challengers Bangalore hero AB de Villiers for the manner in which he attacked Sunrisers Hyderabad's speedster Dale Steyn in Bangalore on Sunday
Twenty20 international cricket began a good two decades after batting great Graeme Pollock figured last in first-class cricket. This does not stop 70-year-old Pollock from applauding acts of brilliance in a format that some purists detest.
AB de Villiers' unbeaten 89 off 41 balls which contributed hugely to Royal Challengers Bangalore's four-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday night thrilled Pollock, who rates De Villiers as one of the top three batsmen across all formats in world cricket.
"AB has been a special player for three to four years now and he's been delivering the goods. The T20 format suits him, but his Test record is impressive as well. Surely, he is up there in my book along with India's Virat Kohli," Pollock told mid-day yesterday.
Pollock went on to explain why De Villiers is so good: "He's obviously very talented, positive and always looking for runs. The important aspect about batting is putting bowlers under pressure. People think that batting is about not getting out, but you have got to score runs at the same time."
RCB's AB De Villiers celebrates after hitting the winning runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. Pic/PTI inset: Dale Steyn
De Villiers' innovative skills have impressed Pollock, who in 23 Tests, scored 2,256 runs at an average of 60.97 (highest among established players after Sir Don Bradman). Towards the end of his career in the 1980s, Pollock scored heaps of runs against West Indian and Australian rebel teams. "Some of AB's improvisation is brilliant like the six he hit off Dale Steyn over fine leg.
"That was great because you don't normally do those things to a guy of Steyn's pace. To get into position and make it work was just fantastic," said Pollock.
The blaster ensured Steyn's final over of the match ended in destruction just like the start – two sixes off the first two balls. De Villiers creamed the penultimate ball of the final over (bowled by Irfan Pathan) to the fence for RCB to win a high-pressure chase with a ball to spare.
AB shouldn't keep wicket
While Pollock is delighted to see one of his favourite players go from strength to strength, he expressed disappointment over De Villiers being asked to keep wicket in Test cricket.
"He is too good a batsman to be a wicketkeeper as well in Tests. His job is to field – and he's a good fielder – and to make runs. It's hard work to keep for a day-and-a-half. You could injure your fingers and that would hamper your batting. I don't think that's the way to treat him."
Are the South African selectors listening?
The number of Test matches AB de Villiers has featured in to score 7168 runs