Cape Town – AB de Villiers, three days
short of his 32nd birthday, on Sunday became the 68th
member of the “200 caps” global club in one-day internationals ... and he
boasts the best batting average of the prestigious group.
It tells you plenty about the Proteas
captain’s quality that his average has shifted up to 54.56, aided by his
priceless unbeaten 24th century in the series-clinching fifth ODI
against England at Newlands.
Purely for South Africa, it actually
exceeds 55 (at 55.36) as his career nominally includes five, less successful
matches for the Africa XI (average 30.00) around a decade ago in the fairly
short-lived and not widely lauded Afro-Asia Cup.
Just in terms of batting average, the only
two other batsmen falling into the 50-plus category among the elite 68 players
are Australia’s 232-cap Michael Bevan (53.58) and India’s 275-cap MS Dhoni
The record for most ODI career appearances
is held by Sachin Tendulkar, who played a massive 463 games between 1989 and
2012, and his average of 44.83 is almost a full 10 runs short of where De Villiers
currently stands – although in fairness you have to take into account the
evolution of ODIs into a gradually faster-paced and more batting-friendly
That said, De Villiers also averages a
century every eight innings in ODIs, whereas Tendulkar got one in every 9.22
knocks. The Indian maestro notched 49 tons in 452 innings, whereas De Villiers
is just about halfway there in only 192.
Taking into account all ODI players, and
not just those who have gone to 200 appearances or more, De Villiers is behind
only South African-born Ryan ten Doeschate (67.00 after 33 matches ending in
2011) for career batting average, if you make the qualification at least 20
innings in the format.
But it is a deceptive stat given that Ten
Doeschate represented the Netherlands and most of his runs came against
lower-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 to
now 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 to
getting to 200 is JP Duminy (currently 150 appearances).
our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing