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The ABC of AB de Villiers

ESPNcricinfo logo ESPNcricinfo 12-03-2018 Firdose Moonda

A - Australia

The team de Villiers has more hundreds against than any other South African: six. In the last 10 years, only Virat Kohli has scored the same number of hundreds against Australia.

B - Big hundreds

Of his 22 centuries, de Villiers has two double-hundreds and seven scores between 150 and 200.

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Full scorecard

C - Captaincy

Made stand-in Test captain when Hashim Amla stepped down in January 2016 and led in two matches against England, before being confirmed as the permanent captain. But, de Villiers never actually got to do the job, missing series against New Zealand and Australia through injury and then handing over to current captain Faf du Plessis.

D - Dismissed

Most times by Stuart Broad, who has removed de Villiers 10 times in 14 matches.

E - Elbow

A left elbow impingement injury, which required surgery, sidelined de Villiers from August 2016 until January 2017, during which time he also stood down as Test captain.

De Villiers to play for Barbados Tridents in CPL © Getty Images De Villiers to play for Barbados Tridents in CPL

F - Faf du Plessis

His best friend from high school has been his international team-mate for the last seven years. Before this series du Plessis said he was "expecting big things," of his old mate and so far, he has been proved right.

G - Gloveman

De Villiers was tasked with keeping wicket in mid 2012 when an eye injury ended Mark Boucher's career and he did the job for 24 of his 112 Tests. While he kept wicket, his batting average ballooned to 57.41 even though he regularly cited workload issues and a persistent back problem as hampering him.

H - Heart, Hunger, Hero

De Villiers has become so popular as a player because he embodies these three qualities. Known as the ultimate team man, he always plays from his heart, has displayed great hunger for success and is a hero to millions.


The T20 tournament has propelled de Villiers from stardom into super stardom. Chants of "A-B-D," have become signature around the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.

J - Jacques Kallis

De Villiers' most successful partner in Tests. The pair batted together 44 times and scored 3108 runs at 75.80 and shared 13 century and seven half-century stands.


K - Kohli

The India captain, Virat Kohli, counts his Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate as a close friend . On India's recent tour to South Africa, Kohli admitted that while he "respects the way he plays the game and has always respected him as a person," when they come up against each other, all Kohli wants it to get de Villiers out.

L - Lord's

He has only played two Tests at this iconic venue, and is not on the honours' board. De Villiers has scores of 42, 27 and 43 at Lord's in Tests in 2008 and 2012.


A lucractive bat sponsorship with the Indian tyre manufacturers is believed to be worth around USD 2.36 million, several times more valuable than his national contract.

N - Not Out

De Villiers has been undefeated in 18 Test innings, including twice in this series.

O - Overs

De Villiers has sent down 34 overs of medium-pace in Test cricket and has two wickets to his name, both against West Indies in 2005. He dismissed Tino Best and Daren Powell in an innings in which he bowled 21 overs, and West Indies scored 747.

P - Peter Siddle

The bowler de Villiers has taken the most runs off in Test cricket: 273 from 594 balls.

© Getty Images

Q - Quick

Sometimes too quick. According to CSA's official statistician, Andrew Samson, de Villiers had been involved in 14 run outs in Tests, only one fewer than Kallis, who holds the South African record. 

R - Retirement

While de Villiers has not put a timeframe on how long he will continue to play, this could be his last big Test series. De Villiers was rumoured to be considering retirement in late 2015 and then again in mid 2017, before he recommitted across all formats this summer.

S - Sabbatical

But he did take a sabbatical from the longest format, which lasted almost two years. He sat out from January 26, 2016, when South Africa played England until December 26, 2017 when he returned against Zimbabwe.

T - Titans

De Villiers has spent his entire domestic career at the franchise, even before it was a franchise and was a province called Northerns and has always been based at SuperSport Park.


The Middle Eastern desert is where de Villiers racked up his highest score - 278* - and is the country where his batting average is highest. He has only played four matches there but scored 581 runs at 116.20.

V - Versatility

De Villiers has batted everywhere from No.1 to No.8 in the line-up and has had most success at No.5. He has scored 3913 runs in that spot at 62.11, including 14 of his 22 hundreds.

© Getty Images

W - World Cup

The thing de Villiers wants most. He has played in three tournaments and captained in one and is prolonging his career in the hope of getting his hands on the Cup in 2019.

X - X-factor

That undefined quality that makes a player more special than some others and if there's someone who has it, it's definitely de Villiers. His repertoire includes the ramp shots, scoops, and his athleticism in the field has also found its way on to many highlights reels.

Y - Young

At the age of 20, de Villiers had made his international debut. At that stage, he had only played 16 first-class matches.

Z - Zero

De Villiers has made eight ducks in his Test career . He also holds the record for playing the most Test innings (78) before bagging a first duck.

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