Allan Donald’s international career ended in 2003, AB de Villiers’ started a year later. More than a decade since, the pair are colleagues at the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
ODI captain De Villiers and veteran bowling coach Donald cherished a solid working relationship for several years with the Protas, too. The latter recently parted way with the Proteas, but continues to mentor De Villiers and company with the Royal Challengers.
Presented with the hypothetical scenario of bowling six deliveries, with 15 runs required, to the inventive, hard-hitting right-hander, Donald would not offer many full deliveries.
‘I think the field placement is very crucial here. I would have a predominantly on-side field. I would have a fine-leg, square-leg, someone at cow corner and a long-on. I’ll have mid-on and mid-off up and a deep extra-cover. My third-man would be back,’ Donald told the IPL’s official website.
‘I would bowl short and stay away from his feet because he can reverse sweep, he can paddle and he can play the orthodox sweep as well. Bowling at his feet is a no-go. He’s going to lap it for six. I’d mostly bowl bouncers to him, but one ball I’ll have to bluff him. I’d use my bouncer and slower bouncer well.
‘This would be my execution of an over to De Villiers. I still don’t know whether that’s going to be good enough. He is the one batsman in the world who gives you no choices to what to work with. And even if you try to bluff, he can adjust to that bluff really quickly and that is the scary bit.
‘He never practises those scoops and ramps – just sees the ball and reacts. He told us that all he focuses on is watching the ball all the time. Sometimes, he goes into the shot early. But he does that to make the bowler do something else. But even if he goes early, he can easily adjust to what the bowler is trying to do.’
The 31-year-old De Villiers’ esteemed prowess with the bat was particularly evident during January’s world-record 149 off just 44 deliveries. This remarkable innings against in the second ODI against the West Indies at the Wanderers featured nine fours and 16 audacious sixes.
His willow-wielding talent, too, was on display against the Mumbai Indians in Bangalore on Sunday. A cavalier 41 from a mere 11 deliveries, however, proved in vain en route to defeat and the bottom of the 2015 IPL’s eight-team standings.