India series will be fiercely competitive

For some time now, the customary brand of heroics emanating from the blade of AB de Villiers has fallen deafeningly silent. But on Tuesday, at a swanky star hotel in the city, ABD as he is known to the cricketing fraternity, was the cynosure and was accorded a hero’s welcome befitting his stature as an all-time great in the game.
India series will be fiercely competitive
AB de Villiers (Photo: Manivasagan N)

Chennai

He was as much at ease while holding a microphone as he is when wielding a willow. The only difference was he didn’t send any shivers down the spine of the scribes in the way he does to the harried bowlers. 
What was particularly instructive during the interaction was the number of times he emphasised on hard work, hunger and the desire to make it big in any field. The batsman in de Villiers is known to clout the ball into the skies but the man in him refuses to venture into the clouds and the panorama of his different shades was in full view to the packed gathering. 
After lifting his self-imposed exile from Test cricket, predictably questions were asked on the imminent visit of India in January next year for a four-Test series. 
“I’m keenly awaiting the visit of India early next year. Hopefully, the selectors will consider me while picking the team. No one has any divine right to directly walk back into the team. The India series will be fiercely competitive. And we hope the pitches in South Africa will not be conducive to spin,” the 33-year-old quipped. 
With a growing number of Proteas players turning their back on their country and opting to sign the county deals, the ace batsman laid bare his intentions of putting his country first. 
“Playing for South Africa is always the priority. There is no greater joy than representing one’s country. The IPL has been an incredible blessing for me and my family and I would love to keep coming back but I reiterate that South Africa will take precedence,” asserted de Villiers. Renowned for his excellence in other sporting disciplines, ABD was asked to explain their impact on his cricketing prowess. 
“Playing other sports like tennis, rugby and golf helped me enormously in making me an all-round cricketer. I’m fond of tennis and it helped my hand-eye co-ordination, footwork and reflexes. It also helped me get a taste of competitive sport. I remember crying walking off the tennis court as a child,” reminisced the former South African skipper. 
Having established a reputation as one of the cleanest and destructive strikers of the ball, it sounded near blasphemous when de Villiers underlined the value of having a sound defence. 
“I started perfecting defence in 2008. You can have all the shots in the book but if you are found wanting in defence, the bowlers will get on top of you,” analysed de Villiers.

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