Indian Premier League

Indian legend: 'Genius' AB de Villiers should open the batting in IPL

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AB de Villiers in action for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. (AFP)
AB de Villiers in action for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. (AFP)
Manjunath KIRAN / AFP

Indian cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar has suggested that South Africa's AB de Villiers should open the batting for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

De Villiers has been in red-hot form in this year's IPL, with his most recent heroics a 75-run blitz off 42 balls in Bangalore's one-run win over Delhi Capitals on Tuesday.

It saw him become only the sixth batsman to pass 5 000 runs in the tournament, and only the second foreigner.

Speaking on Star Sports, Gavaskar called De Villiers a "genius" and said he would like to see him move to the top of the batting order.

De Villiers batted at No 5 in Tuesday's match and came to the crease with his side struggling somewhat at 60/3 after 8.3 overs.

"When you see a genius like that, you want to go and just watch him carry on. You want to say to the opposition - 'Listen, why don't you send him to open the batting because we can get to see more of him rather than him coming in the 10th or the 11th over. Let's see 20 overs of ABD', that's what I, as a former batsman, always say when I see AB de Villiers in this kind of form," Gavaskar said, as quoted by the Hindustan Times.

Gavaskar, who played 125 Tests and 108 ODIs for India between 1971 and 1987, added that De Villiers' "audacious" shots were "jaw dropping".

"It's amazing. It's just magical. You can walk around the earth, just to see this man bat because he brings in so much. He gives you so much joy, he makes your jaw drop with the kind of audacity with which he plays some shots."

Prior to the start of this year's IPL, De Villiers had last played competitive cricket in November 2020 at the IPL in the United Arab Emirates.

The former Proteas captain is sixth on the list for most runs scored in this year's edition, scoring 204 runs at an average of 68 and the best strike rate of 174.35. The list is topped by De Villiers' compatriot Faf du Plessis, who has scored 270 runs (67.50 @140.62) for the Chennai Super Kings.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore are currently second on the IPL standings with five wins from six matches. They have the same number of points (10) as leaders Chennai Super Kings but trail due to an inferior net run-rate.

Bangalore's next match is against sixth-placed Punjab Kings in Ahmedabad on Friday (16:00 SA time).

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