Calcutta: Glenn Maxwell might well be donning the Orange Cap at the moment in IPL VII, but if you ask VVS Laxman, AB de Villiers, without any doubt, is the most complete batsman among his contemporaries.
The ability to play three to four shots for every delivery keeps the South African captain ahead of the rest, feels Laxman. “Without doubt, De Villiers is the most complete player at present. And I feel Maxwell is slowly getting there.
“Like Maxwell, De Villiers, too, can play shots all around the wicket. He has got three or four shots for one delivery. There is nothing that he cannot do when he is batting. He is quick on his feet and in his thought process.
”To execute some of the shots he has played, one needs to have a quick mind and he has done that effectively not only to mediocre bowlers but also to the best in business. He is quick on his feet, he’s always thinking and is an exceptional runner between the wickets, which go on to make him a complete cricketer,” Laxman told the IPL’s official website.
According to the Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor, De Villiers has the perfect blend of orthodoxy and innovation.
“That is why he is complete. Because of his good basics, he can adapt quickly even on tough conditions.
“To unsettle the opposition, he can play some freak shots and get his innovation into the picture and change the game single-handedly. He has the potential to play aggressively and be defensive at the same time,” he said.
Laxman also opined that De Villiers has an astute cricketing brain when it comes to batting. “I do not know him personally, but the way he bats, you can make out that he responds to a particular situation in a certain way.
“De Villiers plays exactly the way he should in a particular situation.”
Moving on to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Laxman said every cricketer would like to have a temperament similar to that of the latter. “The reason MS Dhoni has been so successful is his temperament and situational awareness, which is so important for a cricketer.
‘He understands exactly what is to be done as a captain and as a batsman in a particular situation, and he delivers more often than not. You may have the best technique and skill, but you need to know when to do what, which Dhoni does brilliantly.
“Dhoni’s approach is totally different when he comes to bat early and when he bats down the order during pressure situations, all of which boils down to situational awareness,” Laxman explained.
He felt the India and Chennai Super Kings captain has progressed as a batsman over the years. “Dhoni during his early days was one-dimensional and the opposition bowlers could make him play according to their plans. But it is amazing how he has progressed as a batsman.”