Sydney - With exactly a month to go before
the first ball is bowled in the 2015 Cricket World Cup and all the experts
sharing their views on players to watch-out for, Australia’s three-time World
Cup winner Adam Gilchrist has branded South Africa captain AB de Villiers as
the “most valuable cricketer on the planet”.
an exclusive TV interview with the ICC, the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer also
shared his excitement at the event being staged by Australia and New Zealand
for the first time in 23 years.
In a candid interview, Gilchrist, who is
sixth in the list of leading run-getters in the history of the World Cup and
with 52 dismissals is the most successful wicketkeeper, also reflected on the
ICC Cricket World Cups of 1999, 2003 and 2007, which Australia won in different
conditions and against different opposition.
heaping praise on De Villiers, Gilchrist said: “De Villiers is the most
valuable cricketer on the planet. His versatility is extraordinary and he is
amazing to watch.
“He’s so inventive… he can play a touch
game or a power game. Then, he can also keep wickets. He’s also one of the best
fielders in the world and recently has taken some wickets when he had a bowl.
And he leads his team very well, so, I think he’s the most valuable cricketer
De Villiers will feature in his third Cricket
World Cup. In 175 ODIs to date, the 30-year-old has scored 7 210 runs with 18
centuries and 42 half-centuries. He has captained South Africa in 56 ODIs,
winning 31 matches. Behind the stumps, he has accounted for 88 batsmen.
Closer to home, Gilchrist also tipped
Australia’s Mitchell Marsh to make a big impact in the tournament alongside
David Warner, while he believed that India’s MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli would
have a big say in the destination of the prestigious trophy.
Sharing the excitement about the event to
be played between February 14 and March 29, Gilchrist said: “I think next
month’s tournament is going to be really exciting. Conditions, particularly in
Australia, are going to be conducive to high scores, entertaining cricket and
“In New Zealand, there are more
result-based wickets on offer, as there’s normally a bit in them for the
bowlers. The batsmen might struggle a bit more over there but I think we’re
going to see an exciting and a close tournament.
Reflecting on his time at the Cricket World
Cup, which saw Australia complete a hat-trick of titles, Gilchrist said: “They
were all very different (tournaments). In 1999 (in England), we just scraped
through. We lost two of our first three games and one slip-up and we knew we
were out of the tournament. So, we were on a knife’s edge, including the famous
tied semi-final (against South Africa). It was close.
“In 2003 (in South Africa), again we were a
little bit shaky early on, but we got it right. We had a few close calls where
a number of games went right down to the wire and it took some flashes of
individual brilliance to get us over the line. We ended up winning undefeated,
but it was a lot closer than that.
“In 2007 (in the West Indies), we just
dominated. Guys like Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hayden were taking opponents out
of play, so that was probably the ‘cruisier’ tournament. Not without hard work
or commitment, but certainly there was a bit more of a relaxed view certainly
compared to the other two.
“All three tournaments were very individual
in their own right, but they were all wonderful memories.”