I am in the best form of my life right now, says AB de Villiers

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I am in the best form of my life right now, says AB de Villiers

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SportsCafe Desk

01/19/2018

AB de Villiers has expressed his happiness over his comeback in the whites and claimed that he is currently in the best form of his life. He also appreciated the team combination which is a balance of young and experienced players, stating that he loved having an impact on the new crop in the team.

An ankle injury forced de Villiers to stay out of the series against New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka at the end of 2016. The right-handed batsman also missed the Test leg of the tours of New Zealand and England due to a self-imposed sabbatical from the longest format of the game. However, at the end of 2017, the mercurial batsman returned to the Test format to play in the day-night game against Zimbabwe which was a four-day affair, before making significant contributions in the ongoing series against India.

"I feel like I am in the best form of my life right now," de Villiers said as quoted by Cricbuzz. 

"Once again, I have touched on it earlier, that I am never guaranteed results, never guaranteed five hundred in a row. I could get five ducks in a row but I am happy where I am at. And I am playing well and I am doing my preparation well and I am meeting the ball well, it is just up to the day to take care of itself. So I don't think like that and I feel at the best phase of my life right now."

De Villiers played the first Test of his career in 2004 in Port Elizabeth against England. The 33-year-old admitted that he was feeling as fit as he had ever been in the 13-year long career which he proved in Cape Town and Centurion Tests where he scored two half-centuries and contributed 100 runs each.

"It feels like my debut back in 2004 when I started as an opening batsman then a keeper at no.7 and back to the opening, and up and down," he said. "It's funny with my comeback now similar to back in the day. But it has been very enjoyable, I feel very fresh, and I have said it on numerous occasions in the last few months that I just feel like just getting out there and playing, and that's what a good break does to you.

"I am feeling in a good space and the energy is good and my body is feeling right at the moment. I do have niggles but that is part of Test cricket. You never get up feeling a hundred percent. The back is still there, the ankles and knees, everything is hurting at times but to be playing the ultimate form of the game again, it has been a great challenge."

India started their series campaign on a positive note when Bhuvneshwar Kumar's early attack left the hosts at 12 for 3 in the first Test in Newlands, before de Villiers played the role of a savior for his side with an 85-run knock in 65 deliveries. He continued his attacking form in the questionable Centurion pitch too, scoring 80 off 121 balls in the second innings. 

"I have always said that I don't feel there's a big difference between the three formats. It is just a mindset - applying yourself to the wicket and conditions and that's always been the way that I have played. So no definitely not it is something that I force. I watch the ball and I just play."

The South African team has introduced a good balance of young and experienced player in the ongoing series against India which is performing well under Faf du Plessis’ captaincy. The team already sealed the three-match Test series by winning the first two games. 

The right-handed batsman who featured in 109 Tests and 225 ODIs for South Africa scoring 8327 and 9515 runs respectively, is considered as one of the greatest players in the cricketing world. Nobody can deny his stature in the world cricket and now its also influencing young players of South Africa to do well for their country.

"I love having an impact on some of the youngsters in the team and to drive them and hopefully one day they will remember that old guy who had a good impact on me," de Villiers said.

"There is a great group of senior players at the moment. Guys who have the good hearts and the right intentions to take this team to higher levels and to newer grounds. Faf has been leading the side well, there is confidence as well, and it is easy to fit in as the senior player because I was captain not long ago and I know what the captain needs from his senior players. The kind of energy you need and the kind of advice you need at times and also sometimes also to get out of the captain's space. So I understand that's natural and understand all of us have been leaders in the past and I think we really work together well as a team."

In 2015, the South African team visited India for a full tour that included four-match Test series where Team India handed them a 3-0 loss. The current series is considered as a chance for South Africa to take a revenge from their opponent. The third and the final Test against India will play in Wanderers starting from January 24 where they can register a 3-0 win against world’s No.1 Test team. The Rainbow nation player believed that it will not going to be an easy contest as India will definitely want to end the series with a consolation win. 

"I can't remember what happened, what happened in 2015, oh we won the ODI series, yeah?" he joked. "[Three-nil] would be great, India have really impressed me and surprised us in terms of the bowling department so they have shown lot more skill and definitely there is lot more pace than we expected. So we know we are going to have to be watchful in that last Test. They will come out fighting and wanting to finish well in the Test series and wanting to take that confidence into the ODIs but obviously, we would love to beat them 3-0. But you are never guaranteed a result. We know we are going to have to dig deep again and make sure that like in the last two Tests we adapt to the conditions and put in our best type of cricket in the conditions."

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