Is AB de Villiers captaincy material?

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AB de Villiers of South Africa batting on Day 4 of the 3rd Investec Test Match between England and South Africa at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, UK.
Photo by Sarah Ansell

We were going to do a half-arsed box-ticking update today, pointing you towards Cricket Badger and our latest Cricinfo Twitter round-up, but the latter seems in no hurry to appear, so we thought we’d better write summat.

Let’s talk about AB de Villiers, who despite being a vehement letter-C denier has gained a (c) for this series at least. Will he make a decent captain? People generally seem to think he’s the best man for the job. This is faintly surprising to us because we’ve got a vague and distant memory of de Villiers being described as something other than razor-sharp.

Perhaps it’s a false memory. Perhaps it was just a joke that took on an exaggerated form inside our head where de Villiers was so dense you actually wanted to strike him for his relentlessly frustrating lack of comprehension.

Either way, it’s a total myth that he’s great at everything.


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  1. Hardly ‘news’ that AB D (c) is a few cornflakes short of a breakfast, KC.

    And certainly not “news” that AB D (c) isn’t great at everything.

    I am reminded of a chap I knew at Uni, first name Richard, normally shortened to Dick, who was known as ABCD, short for “a brain cell Dick”. I believe he is something quite high falutin’ now. Just wanted to share.

    1. Are we right then about him being a few beers short of a festival? We weren’t sure whether we’d made it up. No-one seems to mention it any more.

    2. Poor team, they have unleashed the ‘C.’ They shan’t expect it when the rest of the team is replaced by 101 dalmatians, and somehow also Hayley Williams, Sarah Roemer and the ghost of married Avril Lavigne (any others?).

      It’s still up in the air at this moment, but at the least they can rely on Breaking Benjamin to believe in them, if not Glenn McGrath (or the BCCI, who probably think of the recent election as confusing).

  2. Before he chose cricket, AB was shortlisted for South Africa’s hockey and football squads, was South Africa’s U-19 badminton champion, was a member of South Africa’s Junior Davis Cup team and even defeated Izak van der Merwe (now a pro tennis player) in his first competitive match. Don’t ever underestimate how lucky the sport of cricket is to have this man.

    He almost became a doctor
    There are sportsmen who tell you that if they weren’t into sports, their lives would be worthless. Not AB de Villiers though. Going by what his father said, AB had enough academic prowess to become a doctor. In fact until he had his moment of epiphany, AB was seriously pursuing the field of medicine.

    He’s a South African popstar
    Apart from being a sporting all-rounder and smart enough to be a doctor, Mr 360 degrees is also a South African popstar with his own album. AB started with the single “Show Them Who You Are” with his singer-songwriter buddy Ampie du Preez in 2008 and released his first album with Ampie “Maak Jou Drome Waar” in 2010 that was signed to the Sony BMG label. Yes, he is good at everything. This man has to be of Kryptonian descent.

    1. And yet, his cricket is only barely more interesting than Ben Stokes on a good day. Doubt it’s anything personal. Tell me when he plays for Zimbabwe, their lives were rarely as worthless compared to the runs, wickets, etc., they could receive.

      He might have added something new to the history of rugby, I guess.

  3. I forgot to mention golf, rugby and swimming.

    His Dad is also called ABD, amazing his Grand-dad and his Great Grand-dad are also called ABD. His wife is known as Mrs ABD; they had a child last summer, guess what they called him?

    1. ” It isn’t some soppy love song that doesn’t even make sense, which scores points from me!” – which I suppose is what you would have expected from AB de Villiers. If it’s wrong to speak the truth, what were they supposed to do?

  4. The South African board seem determined to break him, piling on the number of jobs, knowing full well he’ll accept.

  5. Rus – “he almost became a doctor” is a giant leap of faith beyond the recorded facts about ABD (c). He didn’t progress beyond secondary education.

    According to Wikipedia, the father, ABD major, who is a doctor, believes that his son ABD (c) had the academic prowess to become a doctor.

    Show me a doctor who does not believe that his/her children had the ability to follow in their footsteps and would have done so had it not been for [chasing girls (or boys) too much/hanging around with the wrong crowd/going overboard for sports instead/becoming transfixed by the arts/lost interest in studies for no good reason/couldn’t stand the sight of blood – delete where applicable] .

    I don’t think I have ever heard a doctor say, “my child does not have the academic ability to become a doctor – frankly he is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.”

    I might be doing ABD minor a disservice; he might be brighter than he shows. But his dad’s opinion of his potential does not qualify as “almost became a doctor” or even “must therefore be bright” in my view.

  6. OK, let’s sum up. On the one hand, we have his dad saying he’s bright enough to be a doctor. On the other hand, he’s brilliant at cricket, hockey, badminton, tennis, football, rugby and golf.

    We’ve all been to school. We’ve all known kids who are really, really good at all sport. Was any one of them bright? More than that, was any one of them brighter than a rabbit? In fact, let’s get right to the heart of this – was any one of them brighter than a rabbit who’d come last in a lettuce nibbling exam, who’d suffered a traumatic brain removal accident, and who was dead?

    Obviously, the answer is no. Sports kids are thick. It’s just a fact. Sportiness is like some celestial compensation for an otherwise pointless existence.

    When AB’s dad says he is bright, he’s talking relatively. It’s also worth pointing out that when AB’s dad became a doctors, doctor’s jobs were only open to a tenth of the population. It’s like having a requirement that all doctors must be ginger. The result would be a large number of incompetent ginger doctors.

    1. Welcome to the ECB health clinic.

      Would you like to see Dr Bell or Dr Bairstow today? …no, Sir, I’m sorry, Dr Stokes is not available today. He has injured his hand while undertaking a particularly difficult medical procedure on a locker.

  7. Other than supposition do we actually know anything about abd’s brain? I think people may be getting confused with Kallis who apparently was a touch lacking in this department.

  8. how and where did this vague, distant memory come from? He doesn’t sound thicker than the average cricketer – not saying much, I know. He should be better at captaincy than Amla – again, not saying much. Definitely more imaginative, I’d say. Ajit Agarkar was dense, Rohit Sharma possibly, Javagal Srinath probably, why ABD?

    1. He doesn’t particularly strike us as thick in any given interview. That’s one of the reasons we thought it might have been something specific; something someone within the team had once said.

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