RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
AB The Autobiography
AB The Autobiography

First published in 2016 by Pan Macmillan India

Pan Macmillan India
#707, 7th Floor, Kailash Building,
Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001
Phone: (+91) 011-23320837/38
Web: www.panmacmillan.co.in

Pages: 328
Price: Rs.599/-

Abraham de Villiers is a gem of a batsman, who is regarded as the best batsman in the world at present and one of the best ever. According to Adam Gilchrist, AB has become the most valuable cricketer on the planet.

AB The Autobiography is the story of a modern sporting phenomenon.

As a kid, he enjoyed lawn tennis and rugby but from the age of 15, cricket was always going to be number one for him. He says he learned a lot from tennis and he will always remember the advice given to him by Danny Sullivan and his father Oom Derek. And he eventually learned to control his nerves, to conceal his utter devastation when he lost and, ultimately to take responsibility for his performance.

"Our entire family enjoyed tennis, playing at the local sports club - we called it 'the club at the end of the road' even though it was three kilo metres from our home - and watching all the Grand Slam tournaments on TV. The stars of the game were our heroes. Steffi Graf, the German who won the Wimbledon women's single title seven times between 1988 and 1996, was perhaps the greatest sweetheart in our house."

Considered as an explosive batsman, the record books are studded with AB de Villiers' outstanding performances. He holds a record for the quickest fifty (16 balls), quickest century (31 balls), quickest 150 (64 balls) in ODIs apart from registering a 75-ball Test century - the fastest by a South African batsman. The three quickest innings (minimum 50) in terms of strike rates for South Africa in T20Is also stand to his credit.

Abraham de Villiers, by posting three centuries vs India in a bilateral ODI series in 2015-16 in India, had created history. He remains the only captain to hit three hundreds in a bilateral ODI series - his tally being 358 runs at an average of 89.50. Among the batsmen with 8,000 runs or more in ODIs, his average (53.63) is the highest. His feat of reaching 8000 runs in just 182 innings is a record for the quickest to this milestone in ODIs - 18 innings fewer than the next best - Sourav Ganguly (200).

de Villiers is one of the three batsmen to hit 16 sixes in an innings in ODIs - the other two being Rohit Sharma and Chris Gayle. During his innings of 149 off 44 balls vs West Indies at Johannesburg on January 18, 2015, he hit sixteen sixes and recorded strike rate of 338.63 - a record for the highest strike rate among the centurions.

The records and the statistics, believes AB de Villiers, don't matter at all. "They are flashed across the television screen during the broadcast or printed in the newspapers the following day, but they don't make much difference. Records really do come and go. True glory is measured in the memories, the human emotions that endure and enhance people's lives."

Jonty Rhodes, in his foreword, writes: "His complete destruction of the West Indian attack in Sydney during the 2015 World Cup was so ruthless, so complete and so breathtaking that it left me feeling genuinely sorry for the bowlers. It was incredible to watch. He was clearly loving the game, mastering the game and yet humbly respecting it at the same time.

AB's career achievements so far have honoured cricket wherever the game is played and Ricky Ponting was 100% correct - he's a genius. I am honoured that AB asked me to write this Foreword to his autobiography and I always feel privileged to be associated with him in any way."

Not winning a World Cup by South Africa till date has been a biggest disappointment for him as well as for millions of South Africans. "There is no doubt that our failure to win the 2015 Cricket World Cup ranks as the greatest disappointment of my cricket career. I genuinely believed we were strong enough. I genuinely believed it was our time. I genuinely believed that, if we had got past New Zealand in the semifinal, we had the ideal combinations of batsmen and spin bowlers to take on Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and potentially win the final. I believed all that, but it didn't happen. It was not, in fact, our destiny."

My friend, Andrew Samson, has done an outstanding job, compiling Abraham de Villiers' career stats meticulously.

The book is well worth reading and will provide much to think and talk about. The quality of the paper and the generous spacing all enhance the fascinating material. The photographs are marvellous. Action shots, close-ups and intimate impressions of situations which turn up in this publication are all of an exceptionally high standard.

The book is handsomely produced and economically priced.