Here is why AB de Villiers could become India’s nemesis in South Africa | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Here is why AB de Villiers could become India’s nemesis in South Africa

There is no doubt that AB de Villiers meant business when he said that this return to Test cricket is motivated by the eagerness to get South Africa cricket team back to No 1 and that quest starts with the Freedom Series against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team.

cricket Updated: Jan 04, 2018 22:17 IST
Somshuvra Laha
AB de Villiers of South Africa cricket team stayed away from Test cricket between February 2016 and the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe due to an injury layoff and a self-imposed break. He will be a main player for the hosts against Indian cricket team in the Freedom Series Test matches.
AB de Villiers of South Africa cricket team stayed away from Test cricket between February 2016 and the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe due to an injury layoff and a self-imposed break. He will be a main player for the hosts against Indian cricket team in the Freedom Series Test matches.(Getty Images)

That AB de Villiers was the most prolific batsman in the 2015 tour of India shouldn’t be lost on Virat Kohli and Co. as they take measure of a reloaded South Africa cricket team ahead of the first Test in Newlands.

Possibly the best batsman across all formats, De Villiers stayed away from Test cricket between February 2016 and the Boxing Day Test against Zimbabwe due to an injury layoff and a self-imposed break. And barring a 1-3 loss in England, all seemed well with South Africa who had accepted and moved on with the reality that AB may not play again.

But a sudden change of mind after the thrashing in England saw De Villiers confirming his Test return as well as step down from ODI captaincy.

“I think he has got his enthusiasm for the game back. He looked very good in the T20 competition (Ram Slam) and also in the Test match against Zimbabwe. So I think he probably just needed a break and it looks like he is ready to go. From that point of view I think that’s a good thing for the South African side,” former South Africa captain Kepler Wessels said about this sudden return.

There is no doubt that De Villiers meant business when he said that this return is motivated by the eagerness to get South Africa back to No 1.

With South Africa scheduled to host Australia in March, the series against India will be the first step towards it. His addition gives South Africa an extra edge in the middle order that already looks bulked up with the return of captain Faf du Plessis from a lower back injury. Most significant though should be the insight on Kohli that he brings to team meetings.

“What’s important with AB is that he is fresh and hungry to score big runs. He has had a good break. He feels mentally strong and he wants to put in big performances, so I think that’s half the battle already. When you have got a high-quality player like himself, if you get the mental side of things right, he can be a good asset,” said South Africa captain Faf du Plessis on Thursday.