Former Proteas speedster and popularly known as the White Lightning, Allan Donald does know a thing or two about how to plan to dismiss top-class batsmen. He was up against the likes of two greatest modern day batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara and was a dominant force in the tea during his heydays.
In the ongoing Test series between India-South Africa, the team totals have been on the lower side, and thus the batting contest has come down to AB de Villiers vs Virat Kohli. The duo has amassed 200 and 191 runs respectively at an average of 50 and 47.75. Te 3rd and the final Test of the series will be played at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, Allan Donald who bagged a total of 330 wickets in his Test career called both de Villiers and Kohli as freakish players and compared them with the great Ricky Ponting.
“I have a standing joke that if you’re sitting in a team meeting planning to get guys like that out, good luck to you.
“They’re obviously freakish players and the only other player I can remember who’s similar is Ricky Ponting, although he didn’t have De Villiers’ flair.
“The problem with them is they’re technically very organized and hit good balls for four. They always look to attack and transfer pressure back onto the bowlers and make it difficult for them to hit their lines and lengths. These are the two best batsmen in the world at the moment”.
Donald had the pleasure of watching both Kohli and de Villiers hit centuries in IPL from the Royal Challengers Bangalore dugout, but he has more inclination towards his countrymen who have a natural flair for his game.
“I had the pleasure of watching both make hundreds in the IPL (Indian Premier League) – I’d never seen hitting like that. But with AB, whatever you plan technically in a team meeting goes out the window. He’s a player you can’t plan for because he has so many options.
“He’s an unbelievable 360 degrees player in all formats of the game. Virat himself has said he absolutely adores watching AB bat in one-day cricket. Once one of the players asked him how he did it and he said his way was to get on top of the bowlers very quickly, basically to get them to change their lengths”.
While describing de Villiers, Donald mentioned that how Mr 360 put Bhuvneshwar Kumar to the sword in the opening Test especially when the Swing Master bagged three wickets for near to nothing. However after a big over from the blade of de Villiers’ bat all of a sudden his figures read 3/40. So this is the sort of impact the man has on his oppositions. Meanwhile, Donald also feels that while de Villiers is a better ODI batsman, Kohli is a more suited Test player.
“In Test match cricket, Virat is technically well organised, has a good temperament and a good flow about him. He can also guts it out, which we saw with the 100 he scored at Centurion. AB can be very attacking and just wants to put pressure on the bowlers all the time”.
Donald also conceded that e Villiers would counter the aggression and he will continue to fight fire with power.
“AB wants to dominate every ball, which makes you doubt your lengths as a bowler. We were talking about it in the IPL and (Australia’s) Mitchell Starc said the one thing you can’t afford to do is back off with your aggression. If you keep coming and backing your instincts, you’ll have a bit of success.
“It’s a bit like when I was bowling to Lara. He had that genius and was relentless at putting you away. He had all the shots, quick hands and quick feet – but you always felt he had a ball with his name on it”. When asked whom among the modern day greats he would have loved to bowl to, Donald said, “I’d say Kohli because I feel from a red ball perspective if you bowl fuller and get tight on that fourth stump outside off stump, you can get him out.
“You can get more dots than you would with AB, which can frustrate him. He’s been caught behind before on that kind of ball and if his first 20 balls are there, he tends to find it hard to leave”.
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