AB credits teammates for success

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iol spt pic AB de villiers

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SA cricketer of the year AB de Villiers with his wife during the Cricket SA Awards at Sandton Convention Centre. Picture: Lee Warren

Johannesburg - Claiming four accolades, including Cricketer of the Year at Cricket SA's annual awards evening, AB de Villiers says his teammates spurred him on to greater heights during the season.

“I would certainly not be standing here without my teammates,” De Villiers in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

He was also named Test Cricketer of the Year, South African Players' Player of the Year and South African Fans' Cricketer of the Year.

“It was a special night for me. Being the fans cricketer of the year - the fans are a huge part of the reason I'm here today,” he said.

“My wife has been my biggest supporter of them all. Then came the players' player of the year. It just means the players have faith in you and your ability.”

With the obvious void left behind, following the retirement of Jacques Kallis and Graeme Smith in the Test arena, De Villiers saw it as a time to shine.

“We're going to miss them so much. Jacques and Graeme played a huge role in getting us to where we are today.

“That leaves us with a huge responsibility and opportunity to take it forward now.”

Looking ahead, the current crop of Proteas would be eager to claim their own piece in history, De Villiers said.

“They left an amazing legacy, and it's up to guys like myself, Dale Steyn, Hashim Amla and the rest of the senior group to take it forward.”

With the appointment of Amla as Test captain on Tuesday, it would present a unique blend of personalities over the three formats of the game.

“It's exciting having Hash as the Test captain, myself the ODI captain and Faf du Plessis at the helm of the T20 team.

“It's a great mixture of players and different kinds of captains, and different styles of leadership.

“I look forward to us standing together and leading to get us to where we should be.”

Talking about his goals during the next season, De Villiers said World Cup success would certainly be on the radar.

“I'm still really keen to win the world cup, and we are definitely working towards that.

“That's still a long way away though.”

Looking back, De Villiers said his personal highlight of the season was the first Test in the series against India at the Wanderers in December.

In that match, South Africa were chasing a world record 458 for victory in the fourth innings and, although they fell just eight runs short with the game ending in a draw, De Villiers shared a 205-run fifth-wicket partnership with Du Plessis to get within reach of what had seemed an impossible target.

“It was an amazing Test match. We were down and out, and pretty much done,” he said.

“It was not looking good for us. Faf and I have come a long way together. That game just made it extra special - a packed Wanderers where everything was against us. For the two of us who went to school at Affies (Afrikaans high school in Pretoria) to do something like that was really special.”

He hoped performances like that one were the dawn of a new era for South African cricket.

“Hopefully, it was the start of something really big to come, with more partnerships like that.

“Not only us, but in the whole team. It's about doing the improbable and some amazing stuff on the field in the future.”

Sapa


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