The IPL fever is back! The T20 carnival finally returns home on March 26 when the defending champions CSK will lock horns with KKR in the series opener. The 15the season is all set to be a bigger affair as 2 new teams- Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants joined in the hunt for the coveted title. However, the league will miss of its all-time greatest legends in this edition. Chris Gayle, Suresh Raina, AB DeVilliers are few of the biggest names who will not be seen in IPL 15.
ABD : One of IPL’s greatest showmen
AB de Villiers fondly called Mr 360, for his wide range of unconventional shots all around the park remains a colossal figure in the RCB setup. His association with the franchise began in 2011. Over the years, the Proteas genius has been a true gamechanger for RCB – be it with the willow, or as a fielder. He was also a part of the leadership core where he assisted Kohli in the most crunch situations of the game. Kohli and De Villiers were IPL’s Jodi No. 1. The class and flamboyance of both the modern-day masters resulted in a few of the best partnerships in IPL history.
An end of an era
Ahead of the auctions, De Villiers decided to quit all forms of competitive cricket. Kohli too, stepped down as the RCB skipper after IPL 2021. In all, an era ended in the history of RCB and IPL. Despite the franchise never being able to lift the title, RCB reached to the finals twice, in 2011 and 2016 when De Villiers was a part of the camp. The culmination of the Kohli-ABD saga was quite a heartbreaking moment for all cricket fans. But as the wise men say, “The show must move on”.
Reports say that ABD will be back in the RCB camp as a mentor, however, an official word is still awaited. A B de Villiers featured in the marquee league since its inception in 2008. The then Proteas prodigy joined the star-studded Delhi Daredevils and played for the franchise for the next 3 seasons.
AB de Villiers : IPL through the years
In 2011, RCB roped him in and henceforth he remained an integrated part of their setup till his retirement in 2021. In 170 IPL games, ABD amassed 5162 runs at a staggering average of 39.71. His strike rate of 151.69 reflects how destructive a batter he was in the middle order. He hit 40 fifties and 3 centuries and his highest score was 133* against MI. One of the best fielders of his time, A B de Villiers took over 92 catches. At times he was also seen behind the stumps, where he claimed 8 stumping alongside 26 catches. A prolific match-winner, ABD was adjudged the Player Of The Match on 25 occasions. No doubt, he has left a massive void in RCB. Players like Glenn Maxwell now have huge boots to fill in.
RCB will set out on a new chapter in IPL 15. Kohli has passed the baton of captaincy to Proteas veteran Faf Du Plessis. Fans will hope that the change of guard brings in a change of fortune as well, and RCB will finally clinch their maiden IPL title. However, legends like A B de Villiers will be dearly missed as their heroics will stay in our minds forever.