Superman exists if you wish to believe. For those who don’t, AB de Villiers will bring to life the qualities of one and put up a spectacle to leave your jaws open in awe. Be it the way he took on Dale Steyn in the Indian Premier League (IPL) or the manner in which he made Chris Gayle bow down to him in respect at the New Wanderers. He doesn’t leave you with an option, but to believe in the reality of mystic creatures.
There is a data, not new, but important to reiterate in this argument. He was the captain of South Africa’s junior national football team. He holds six South African school swimming records. He was a member of South Africa’s junior Davis Cup team. He was the Under-19 South African badminton champion. He was shortlisted for South Africa’s junior hockey team. He has been awarded for a science project by Nelson Mandela. All of this happened before he went on to play for South Africa.
On the cricket field, he is arguably the best batsman in modern day cricket. He keeps wickets and leads his side. In Jonty Rhodes’ words, ‘I feel sad when AB de Villiers wears the wicket-keeping gloves because he is awesome on the field’. At times, he also bowls effectively. In more ordinary terms, AB de Villiers is a freak.
He doesn’t simply dazzle you; he leaves you wondering as to what it is that he can’t do. If you are an optimist, he makes you believe in superhumans. If you aren’t, he makes you feel vulnerable and inadequate. If he can play a 44-ball 149, he can as easily draft an innings of 33 runs in 220 balls in Test cricket . He offers you a complete package, one that will offer advertisers the flexibility of marketing him.
With all done, the South African wicketkeeper batsman is left with just one task, one milestone that will help him rise to the epic status crowded by a great number of his countrymen – the greatest South African player ever. The list is long with the likes of Barry Richards, Graeme Pollock, Jacques Kallis, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Dale Steyn worthy of that title. But can ‘the man who can do anything’ help South Africa finally get rid of the chokers tag? Will he help them in finally winning cricket’s most prestigious tournament – the ICC World Cup? If he does, few will doubt the existence of Superman.