POST TIME: 19 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
De Villiers hopes to play to people’s expectation
Sports Reporter, Sylhet

De Villiers hopes to play to people’s expectation

Former South African captain AB de Villiers (L) exchanges greeting with a Rangpur Riders official at Sylhet International Stadium in Sylhet yesterday. BCB Photo

South African great AB de Villiers played down the notion that the people’s huge expectation on him would create a pressure in fulfilling his goal to come with his natural explosive brand of cricket in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in which he is playing for the first time in his career.

The 34-year-old, who had quit international cricket last year and joined defending champions Rangpur Riders to play the BPL added that he is looking forward to meet the expectation along with fulfilling his own hopes  

 “It (people’s expectation) motivates me to go out and play well,’’ Villiers said yesterday. ‘’I have expectations throughout my career, so it is nothing new to me. The game of cricket is up and down,’’ he said.

‘’You can’t perform every game. I am also realistic about the sport. I don’t expect too much of myself. But I do expect some fireworks from time to time,’’ he said.

Villiers is contracted with Rangpur Riders for six matches in the group phase, albeit the franchisee said they are trying to keep his service if they can break into the last four spot.

Adorably called as Mr. 360 degree for his ability to play shots in all corner of the park against any kind of bowling and improvising the shots at his will, Villiers said that he is optimistic about Rangpur Riders’ chances of playing the knock out stages in BPL.

Riders are going through some tough times in the BPL with two wins from six games and need to pull up their socks to immediately to make sure they avoid any kind of unexpected embarrassment in the tournament.

Riders are however expecting him to be crucial figure behind turning their fortunes as some of their leading stars are yet to blaze as expected.

‘’If we can get bit of a run going towards the later stages of the tournament, the last six games in the pool stage, hopefully we do qualify for the knockouts,’’ Villiers added.

Villiers said that he is well aware of the turning wicket that he is expected to get in BPL and added that he is prepared to take up the challenge in the upcoming days for Riders.

 ‘’I have seen our last game against Sylhet. The wicket played pretty well. Hoping for that again tomorrow,’’ he said adding that he is prepared to play the switch hit much like Warner if it turns out to be the demand of the day.

Sylhet Sixers Warner played three balls changing his usual left-hand stance against Riders Chris Gayle to create quite a buzz during their game against at the Sylhet International Stadium.

‘’I have played switch hits in the past, especially in the last tournament in South Africa. I have played it pretty well. It is not something I play too often. When the time arrives and you feel it is necessary, then it is a shot that I might pull out but it is definitely not part of my basics for sure,’’ he said.

Villiers said that he came to play BPL, country’s lone franchise-based Twenty20 competition, to get some games under his belt while added that the standard and competitiveness of the tournament played a big part behind joining Riders in tournament.

“I have played a bit of cricket in the Mzansi League in South Africa. You can call it the start of my new season. I have to stay fit and busy,’’ said Villiers.

 “I have heard good things about it. I have guys at the IPL what it’s like, and they said quality of cricket is fantastic. It is a tournament that’s growing from strength to strength every year. I am very happy to be part of it this year,’’ he concluded.