“The drive is not there anymore”: De Villiers on his comeback

“I want to be the best if I come back and I’ll want to compete with Surya and Kohli and I just felt the last four years of my career not playing international cricket,” says AB de Villiers

South African legend AB de Villiers admits that he could still play but doesn’t have the drive left.

Speaking to JioCinema, de Villiers also showered praise on Indian cricketer Suryakumar Yadav.

Below are the excerpts from the interview.

Your career also has had a few lows in a sense of, you know, not being able to win a World Cup, you know, that there must be a little bit of a regret for you.

It’s big time, you know, the minute I got into the Proteas side, that’s all I wanted to do. It’s always been the thing spoken about in the press. I watch the ‘99 World Cup. They got run out. I remember crying and crying myself to bed. I was 15 years and I was devastated. So that was obviously a big goal. And to our downfall, I think that was the mindset of all of our players. I think to win a World Cup, it shouldn’t be like that at all. You must go and play the game and see it as another tournament, easier said than done. Like a real big thing for us and that’s all I wanted to achieve. So as captain 2015, I felt like we were incredibly prepared. Nothing was going to stop us. We had the numbers of the Aussies in that final because we just beat them. And I knew we were going to we were going to take them down in the final and unfortunately, we slipped up against New Zealand in that same year and it was heart-breaking. It was a big knock for me in my career here. There are no regrets. I mean, it’s not going to keep me awake at night, but at the time it hit me very hard.

There’s a lot more than meets the eye. And I think we from the outside understand why, we hear the certain rules that South Africa have to play by. You think, is it because of that the World Cup evade kind of South Africa?

It’s a controversial point, and I’ve got absolutely nothing to hide, I wanted Kyle Abbott in the team at the time we played the previous game. Him and Dale had a fantastic opening partnership going but Vernon Philander came in as one of the best bowlers I’ve ever seen. To me, it’s not political. It’s not racial to me. I wanted the best team on the day, and I’ll go with form and who I feel is the right play at the time. So, I didn’t get the team and it was unfortunate that it happened that night before 10 minutes before our big team meeting, which I prepared for a week and I had the song lined up and the guys would be emotional and, and to get that knock 10 minutes before a team meeting the day before the semi-finals of the World Cup was absolutely unnecessary and uncalled for. But it happened, and it’s not an excuse.

We had an opportunity in the game and that’s what I would always look at. We dropped a couple of catches, the rain got us undone a little bit with the batting, and I felt we had a few more in us. So, with Miller and myself being at the crease, really going strong wasn’t meant to be, you know, as much as you want to dig into it. So, I’d have to say I really wanted it, but maybe it’s a big lesson in life. Again, I wanted it and it’s not got anything to do with me. It’s about the team, it’s about the country. And I think if we can get that mind-set away from the I, maybe I was a little bit focused on I want to be the captain to bring us home and take the World Cup. Then maybe that’s got something to do with that’s why I would never, ever claim it in any way. So, it’s maybe not true, but yeah. A long story short, we put too much emphasis on winning that World Cup and maybe that was part of the reason why we got stuck.

 But do you ever, you know, sit back and think about your cricket and feel I have a few years left in me?

Definitely. I could still play. But the drive is not there anymore. Robbie, from a young age. It’s always just about being the best. I want to be the best if I come back and I’ll want to compete with Surya and Kohli and I just felt the last four years of my career not playing international cricket. I definitely didn’t play enough cricket towards the back end of my career. I think that was the main thing. With this Impact Player I know a lot of people are celebrating it, it’s going to lengthen the careers of players. To me, I could never do that. I could never just play two or three months of the year because I want to be the best in the world, and you can’t do that if you play for three months of the years. Absolutely no chance. Yes. You can practice for nine months. But nothing, nothing compares with middle practice with being out there and competition. So, with the minute that fire went off being the best in the world, I felt like, what? What am I doing? So, what exactly is going on now? So was tough the last few years in that regard as well. I felt like, you know what, I can still have my super knock here and there, but I don’t want to do that. I want to be the best.

So you’re saying we won’t see AB on the field again.

ABD: Not in the IPL. I’ll never say never, I mean I might pull out my kit. I don’t even know where it is. Maybe I’ll pull it out and play a social game somewhere in the next year. And I feel like, you know what, maybe.

Some legends cricket to have fun with old mates?

Maybe, I’ll play some club cricket and that fire will start burning again. I’ll set myself. Some other goals I think will be really important. Yeah, I’ve been programmed to be to try and be just the best.

Today we have Suryakumar Yadav, who practically is an Indian replica of you, and a lot of parallels that have been drawn. How do you rate his batting?

 I think it’s incredible. I think he’s pulling off shots that I never did. I really do, when it gets going, it’s lovely to watch. I think he’s got a long way to go still. I think there’s more to come. I think there’s even a better player in the future, so that’s very exciting. I think is his biggest concern or not concern. His biggest challenge will be to be consistent in all the formats and to figure out his game in Test cricket, in ODIs and in T20 and understand how it works for him. I think he should actually just realize it’s all exactly the same. I do see a lot of similarities. He’s just going to be able to shift through the gears and I mean, it’s incredible to watch. He can score all around the ground. And when he’s confident, he moves so slowly and he sets it so beautifully upright. He gets the ball nice and late. And once you snap that as a batter, once you realize that the faster the bowler gets, the more you’ve got to let it come and that is really starting to click and I think he has clicked that.

ALSO READ: ‘Dramatic fall from grace’


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *