AB de Villiers needs Moonraker

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International Cricket - Investec Test Series - 3rd Test England vs. South Africa

Back in November 2012, AB de Villiers made 33 off 220 balls so that South Africa could save a Test against Australia. In March last year, against the same opposition, he made 43 off 228 balls, but this time South Africa lost.

Today it took him all of 31 balls to make a hundred. Only six didn’t go to the boundary. After that, he sped up.

If these extremes are impressive, consider what’s in-between. If you can block with the best of them and also slog with the best of them, your main challenge is deciding precisely how to defy the opposition.

We’re probably in mandatory handicapping territory here. AB de Villiers should be made to bat with the broken-off handle of a 1970s tennis racquet after downing three pints of Moonraker with a peeved ocelot strapped to his back. If we can persuade him to play like that for the next decade or so, either his Test or one-day average might just drop down into the forties. Not both though. That would be a bit optimistic.


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  1. Best of all, he did it while wearin ludicrously pink pyjamas.

    Flash forward 40 years: “Look youngsters, here’s a picture of me breaking the world record for the fastest ODI century!”
    “But grandad, why are you wearing ludicrously pink pyjamas? And what’s an ODI?”

    1. More like “Grandad, Grandad, I hit a double hundred in the T10 match yesterday! And won both my fist fights!”

  2. I watched a bit of the innings, and it looked like the entire WI team were a bunch of walking zombies who had just lost the taste for human flesh and were having an identity crisis. Full credit to AB for going all Resident Evil on them.

    1. I dunno, the individual zombies are pretty threatening in the Resi games. It was more like Dead Rising.

  3. I wonder what peculiar mechanism South Africa will find in order to fail heroically in the World Cup this time around.

  4. In other news, David Warner has been asking people, specifically Rohit Sharma, to “speak English”.

    Not sure that he is best placed to utter such a linguistic ultimatum, but there you go.

    1. The interviews Warner and Lehmann gave afterwards are very revealing. I’ve added a few little bits to the report, just to make things clearer:

      “On the cricket etiquette side of things when you throw a ball to the keeper and it hits a player you don’t run,” Warner said on Sky Sports Radio on Monday, confusing the word “hit” for the word “miss”. “A few of the boys said something to him and I could tell immediately that the situation absolutely required me to add to that, so when I went over to say something he sort of said something in their language, presumably because he’d had enough of idiots yelling at him for something he didn’t do, and I said ‘speak English’, because if you’re going to say something for me to understand theoretically, I cannot speak Hindi, and I didn’t believe him when he said it didn’t hit him anyway.

      “So I did the polite thing and asked him to speak English,” said Warner, confusing the word “polite” for the word “impolite”, “therefore he did, because he’s a lot cleverer than me, and I can’t repeat what he said, although it was almost certainly accurate. I thought I was okay by asking him to speak English and I’m going to say it a couple of times if he keeps saying it in Hindi. I got slapped on the wrist yesterday by the ICC, I shouldn’t have engaged him and should have went to the other side to my fielding position, but I didn’t. Is that right – Should have went? Maybe I can ask Rohit, he does languages.

      “The guys behind the wicket said it hit him, and they must be right because they’re Australians. I walked in because I presumed, or at least fervently hoped, it hit him as well. I was in the wrong. What he was saying to me, which was presumably and correctly that it didn’t hit him, I asked him to speak English. I got in trouble for engaging the player, which technically you’re not allowed to do that now”, said Warner, confusing the word “technically” for the word “obviously”, “… You’re not supposed to walk at the player. It was between overs and I should have walked around to my fielding position, because I had no idea what happened apart from my own blind guesswork and desire to start a fight.”

      Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann said his side would always “teeter pretty close to” the line of acceptability, but he admitted the Warner-Rohit incident was not a good look for the game. Lehmann said Australia supported Warner’s aggressive style, confusing the word “aggressive” for the word “rude”, but would work with him to ensure his behaviour was within acceptable standards, or at least within what he could get away with.

      “It’s not a great look,” Lehmann said, stating the bleeding obvious. “The ICC have done something about it. At the end of the day we have to work better at those situations and get better as a group, which frankly ought to be very easy for anyone over the age of six … Davey said he’s been fined 50%, so we’ll deal with that and move on. It’s not an ideal scenario, but we’ve got to make sure we’re playing the cricket we want to play without crossing the line, or at least not getting caught.

      “David’s an aggressive character and we support that”, said Lehmann, confusing the word “aggressive” for the word “nasty”, “It’s just making sure he does the right things on the ground, and he knows that more than most, although he ignores it most of the time. We’ll work with him with that, like nursery school teachers do with the little brats they have to deal with. We’ve just got to be mindful of the game of cricket, it’s an important entertainment spectacle for people around the world. We’ve got to make sure we play hard but fair, and don’t cross the line and get caught.

      “Also, Stuart Broad right. I mean, I do advocate cheating, but not that much.”

    2. Indeed, an ideal Rohit riposte to the David Warner imperative, “speak English” would have been, “…but then neither of us would be speaking in a language that comes naturally to us”.

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