• Woakes in awe of ‘freak’ AB

    England all-rounder Chris Woakes has labelled Middlesex’s recruitment of former South African captain AB de Villiers’ ‘an unbelievable coup’.

    De Villiers retired from international cricket last year and has since played for the Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League and Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League.

    He will play for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League before joining Middlesex for the T20 Blast.

    ‘I am sure he will put bums on seats. He is a bit of a freak and it is brilliant that a world-class player like him will be playing with and against our own. It will be a great learning experience for youngsters to be with someone who will go down as a great of the game,’ Woakes told Sky Sports.

    Woakes played alongside De Villiers at the Royal Challengers. He will likely play against the former Proteas star for Warwickshire.

    ‘They call him Mr 360 and watching him bat up close was pretty special. Its almost like he turns it on when he wants to. I know it’s not as easy as that, but he makes the game look incredibly easy. He slows it right down and looks like he has so much time,’ added Woakes.

    ‘He plays all those expansive shots in games, but when I bowled to him in the nets he kept things very simple, nailed the basics, played straight and played strong cricket shots. He is good to have a chat with, talk some nonsense with, but you also want to pick his brain and learn about his genius.’

    Photo: Gallo