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'Sachin scoring 200 not out the highlight of the year'

Last updated on: October 21, 2010 09:27 IST

'Sachin's 200 not out the highlight of the year'

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There are many ways to describe Abraham Benjamin de Villiers.

Batsman extraordinaire, excellent fielder, occasional wicketkeeper... and even musician.

These are some facets of this exciting South African player, who was recently named the ICC ODI Player of the Year - an honour bestowed on an individual who currently tops the one-day rankings.

If statistics alone can validate a decision, then De Villiers certainly deserves the award.

If the South African accumulated 762 runs in 17 one-day internationals (@ 54.43) in 2009, this year he has gone further ahead.

In 10 one-dayers this year -- updated after the second ODI against Zimbabwe at Potchefstroom -- De Villiers has accumulated 646 runs, averaging a whopping 107.67.

And that includes four of his eight career hundreds. In fact, the South African batsman has reached the three figures on five occasions since last November.

It is not that his one-day exploits have hampered his performance in the game's longer and more traditional format. In seven Tests in 2010, De Villiers has scored 526 runs (@ 65.75).


Image: South Africa's AB de Villiers
Photographs: Reuters
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'At this level it is all about consistency'

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Asked about his phenomenal year, De Villiers was forthcoming.

"Wasn't expecting the year to be so good," he admitted, adding, "Having said that, I definitely had a good season.

"I really enjoyed my cricket and, hopefully, will carry forward the form into the next season."

The 26-year-old is very clear about his mantra for success. He attributes the same to just one factor -- consistency.

"At this level it is all about the consistency," he explained, before going on to make a somewhat elaborate explanation.

"I have been very consistent thus far," he said, adding, "There was a big dip in 2005-06.

"But I went back to the basics and learnt again to keep things simple. And that has helped."


Image: AB de Villiers

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'I still love one-day cricket'

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When you talk about consistency in cricket the name of Sachin Tendulkar cannot be missed. So it didn't come across as a surprise when De Villiers mentioned the 'Master Blaster'.

"One of the highlights this year was definitely to watch Sachin score 200 not out at Gwalior," said De Villiers, about the innings which made the Indian batsman the first to register a double hundred in an ODI.

For the record, the South African also scored an unbeaten 114 in what was a lost cause for him and his team.

The one-day format of the game has suffered with the advent of the shorter and more exciting Twenty20 version, so much so that experts have suggested changes in the way one-dayers are played, limiting the number of ODIs and even doing away with the format altogether.

Asked about the same, De Villiers came up with a very pragmatic response.

"I still love one-day cricket," he said, in a matter-of-fact manner, adding, "however, if the ICC makes changes to the format I am okay with it as well."


Image: AB de Villiers

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'The World Cup is going to be tough'

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For the moment though there is the World Cup to look forward to. South Africa's record in ICC tournaments isn't very impressive though.

And De Villiers admitted it is not going to be easy for the Proteas when the tournament commences next February.

"It is going to be tough since it is going to be played on the subcontinent wickets," he said, before being a tad more positive.

"But we have a talented team and rate our chances pretty high," he said, adding, "and we would obviously love to win the World Cup.

"There's no bigger honour than winning the World Cup for your country."


Image: AB de Villiers

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'I do spend some time with the band'

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So there is a lot of cricket for De Villiers to look forward to in the next few months.

And when he is not playing the game, he prefers to sing another tune.

The South African has collaborated with compatriot Ampie du Preez and produced the single Show Them Who You Are, an album, which, according to reports, received many accolades and plenty of airplay on South African radio.

Asked about his career as a musician, De Villiers's explanation was short and pertinent.

"I enjoy music," he said, before adding, "I do spend some time with the band in the off-season."


Image: AB de Villiers

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