AB de Villiers: 'IPL has been life-changing for me'

AB de Villiers reflects on his decade-long stint with the Indian Premier League.

AB de Villiers, apart from being South Africa's batting mainstay for over 12 years, has been a major crowd-puller in the IPL.   -  PTI

It’s hard to believe that A.B. de Villiers could have been dismissed for zero in three consecutive Test innings. The face of South African cricket and a modern batsmen who has introduced new elements to the art of batting, de Villiers returned to the pavilion without opening his account in the second innings of the third (Johannesburg) and fourth Test (Centurion) against England in January 2016. He has not played a Test after that.

The 33-year-old, who plans to return to Test cricket at home against India and Australia at the end of the year, is committed to play for his country in the shorter forms of the game, most importantly the Champions Trophy in June. The mainstay of South Africa’s batting for over 12 years, de Villiers has been one of the overseas players who has brought life to the IPL and turned out to be crowd puller.

At the Montblanc Supports UNICEF event on Tuesday, de Villiers said the IPL has been a “great ride” for him. “The last 10 years has been a great ride. It has certainly been life-changing for me.

“I started my IPL career at Delhi Daredevils (first three years), which was a very good experience, and then moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore. I could not have asked for a better franchise to play for. They are a very professional unit. Unfortunately, this year we haven’t played as well as we wanted to and I think there are some valuable lessons we have learnt throughout the season.”

Fantastic memories

“I have created some great memories over the last 10 years. The fans, the electric vibes in the grounds we have played, the franchise, the people in and around the team, the people who support us, those are the kind of things that stand out for me in the last 10 years of the IPL. I am just honoured and privileged to be a part of the IPL.”

On the defeat against Mumbai Indians, he said: “It was a really good game of cricket. Mumbai fans will be happy with Rohit Sharma batting so well and winning the game for them. They have got a very good team and have got a good chance of going forward.

“In the last few balls, I was very nervous. I was hoping we could somehow find a way to pull it through but it wasn’t to be. We have a few more games left and hopefully we will finish the season with dignity.”