The Telegraph
Saturday , May 17 , 2014
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Need to challenge yourself: AB

AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Mitchell Starc, during a promotional, in Bangalore

Calcutta: Given Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)’s strength, one would have expected the side to be in the upper half of the IPL VII table, especially when the tournament is entering the business end. Instead, they are languishing at the sixth position and are in danger of missing out on a play-off berth.

One of the major problems for RCB is their inconsistent batting. What is also hurting them is the poor form of Chris Gayle and captain Virat Kohli. The only two batsmen who have tried to make an impact are Yuvraj Singh — he was in fiery mood in the last two matches — and AB de Villiers. The South African has shown more consistency and has absorbed the pressure, often bailing his team out of trouble.

De Villiers, on Friday, said he enjoys batting under pressure. “I enjoy batting under pressure. In cricket, pressure will always be there… But, you need to challenge yourself by saying that you enjoy it. I think it is something no one can prepare you for.

“In IPL, the pressure is of a different kind; there are these huge crowds cheering for you and expecting you to do well every time. I enjoy those moments because I visualised myself in these situations from a very young age.

“I used to hit a lot of tennis balls against the wall… I imagined I was playing a Wimbledon game. I could feel the crowd cheering for me, could hear the noise and I created that pressure inside my head. I think those sorts of things prepared me to deal with pressure,” De Villiers told IPL’s official website.

De Villiers, who loves to play attacking shots, said it is important to mix aggression with caution.

“When I started out, I always thought of playing attacking shots. But, after sometime, I realised that if I continue playing like this, I might entertain a few people here and there but I might not keep my place in the team for a very long time. That’s when I started adapting and adjusting to conditions.

“Now, my game is all about being patient and waiting for the right opportunity… I play according to the merit of the ball.”

Throughout his career, De Villiers has batted in various positions in different formats. He has also donned the role of a wicket-keeper. The South Africa batsman said it is very difficult to play all the roles to perfection.

“I have batted in different positions throughout my career. I have batted at No. 7, No. 3 and opened the batting also. At the same time, I was also keeping wickets. As a result, my average was going down. I am not blaming anyone or anything but I’m just saying that it is very, very tough.

“However, there was a good side to it. I was learning how to adapt and was challenging myself in different situations all the time.

“Now, I think I am reaping the rewards, especially in the T20 format, of playing in different situations and batting at different positions,” he said.