I’ve spent the better part of my late teenage years and my career as a sports journalist watching Abraham Benjamin de Villiers bat and I have to say: it was time well spent. However, as I need to qualify, De Villiers can only be classed as a very good batsman who was worth every rand, pound, rupee or dollar spent seeing his willow weave its artistry. Great is a misused term, especially in the South African cricketing context. There is no International Cricket Council silverware to show for their efforts and this is the sad but unavoidable truth. This is what greats are measured on. Each era has its superstars and this one will be remembered for how De Villiers not only redefined the art of batting but showed willow-wielding was a vocation, a science and a calling. You must have a fair bit of talent and discipline to seamlessly mix flair and substance. This was second nature to De Villiers. The 2012 trip to Australia was an example of how De Villiers could do nothing and everything o...

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