Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers said that Shane Warne, India’s fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, and Afghanistan’s spin king Rashid Khan were the hardest players he had ever faced.
Since 2021, when he stopped playing all kinds of sports, de Villiers has been spending time with his family. But he was on JioCinema’s panel of commentators for the IPL 2023, which just ended. He gave his important thoughts during the games of the tournament.
De Villiers said that Warne’s attitude and the way he carried himself made him hard to beat, and that Bumrah and Rashid’s tendency to be “in your face” made them hard to get away from.
“I think Shane Warne was the reason I went to Australia for the first time in 2006, and not just because of his skill and style. It was also his presence and the aura he gave off. And it was clear that I didn’t have much experience. I knew from the start that he was going to get out,” de Villiers told Robin Uthappa in a chat on JioCinema.
“That game seemed easy, but he was just a smart, great player, and it worked out pretty quickly. That’s my method. When it comes to playing fair, it’s not quite right. So he was going very slowly, very slowly, slider straight. I missed the straight one, and that became my weak spot for 2005, 2006, and 2007. “I would miss straight balls, especially ones that turned back a little bit,” he said, thinking back to the first time he played against Warne.
“As I got older and more experienced, I faced new challenges from bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, who was always tough because he was so competitive and never gave up. I have a lot of love for him and the way he plays cricket. I even talked to him a few times. He fought back and caught me a few times, and I love that he is so fierce.
“Once again, Rashid Khan is hard to pick at night. He was caught a few times, but he always came back. Always right there. As he was trying to get me out with the next ball, I hit him for three sixes. And these are the types of bowlers I’ve always found hard to play against and had a lot of respect for,” he said.
Since September 2022, Bumrah hasn’t been able to play because of a back problem that keeps coming back. The pacer is getting better after having surgery at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. Bumrah is hoping to get back into the national team for the 2023 ODI World Cup, which will start in India on October 5. The Men in Blue will play their first match against Australia on Sunday, October 8, at the MA Chidambaram in Chennai. Australia has won the World Cup five times before.