Cape Town – AB de Villiers, three daysshort of his 32nd birthday, on Sunday became the 68thmember of the “200 caps” global club in one-day internationals ... and heboasts the best batting
It tells you plenty about the Proteascaptain’s quality that his average has shifted up to 54.56, aided by hispriceless unbeaten 24th century in the series-clinching fifth ODIagainst England at Newlands.
Purely for South Africa, it actuallyexceeds 55 (at 55.36) as his career nominally includes five, less successfulmatches for the Africa XI (average 30.00) around a decade ago in the fairlyshort-lived and not widely lauded Afro-Asia Cup.
Just in terms of batting average, the onlytwo other batsmen falling into the 50-plus category among the elite 68 playersare Australia’s 232-cap Michael Bevan (53.58) and India’s 275-cap MS Dhoni(51.25).
The record for most ODI career appearancesis held by Sachin Tendulkar, who played a massive 463 games between 1989 and2012, and his average of 44.83 is almost a full 10 runs short of where De Villierscurrently stands – although in fairness you have to take into account theevolution of ODIs into a gradually faster-paced and more batting-friendlyplayground.
That said, De Villiers also averages acentury every eight innings in ODIs, whereas Tendulkar got one in every 9.22knocks. The Indian maestro notched 49 tons in 452 innings, whereas De Villiersis just about halfway there in only 192.
Taking into account all ODI players, andnot just those who have gone to 200 appearances or more, De Villiers is behindonly South African-born Ryan ten Doeschate (67.00 after 33 matches ending in2011) for career batting average, if you make the qualification at least 20innings in the format.
But it is a deceptive stat given that TenDoeschate represented the Netherlands and most of his runs came againstlower-tier minnows like Canada, Bermuda, Scotland and Kenya.
Under the 20-innings-or-more criterion,only five other “major power” cricketers join De Villiers in averaging over 50,and all below him: the previously-mentioned Bevan, SA team-mate Hashim Amla(52.13 after 131 games), India’s Virat Kohli (51.51), England’s Jonathan Trott(51.25) and Dhoni.
De Villiers is the sixth South African tonow sport 200 ODI caps or more, behind only Jacques Kallis (328), Shaun Pollock(303), Mark Boucher (295), Herschelle Gibbs (248) and Jonty Rhodes (245).
The nearest still-active SA cricketer togetting to 200 is JP Duminy (currently 150 appearances).
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