Image courtesy of: Zimbio
AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis have known each other for a long time, so it came as no surprise when the South Africa ODI captain lavished praise on his compatriot.
De Villiers admitted that Du Plessis has transformed himself from a good player to a “great” cricketer over the past few years.
It is hard to argue with De Villiers as Du Plessis has succeeded in all formats with the bat and as a captain. In fact, when De Villiers was out of action with an elbow injury, Du Plessis stepped up, absorbed the leadership role and led the Proteas to Test series wins over New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka. Furthermore, he presided over his side’s 5-0 whitewashing of Australia in an ODI series last year.
“He’s a wonderful player who has turned into a great player over the past few years,” De Villiers said after Du Plessis made an unbeaten 51 in the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday, which South Africa won by six wickets.
South Africa’s victory not only helped them clinch the series 3-2, but also saw them regain the No.1 spot on the International Cricket Council (ICC) ODI team rankings.
Meanwhile, De Villiers also expressed his delight to have beaten the Black Caps in a gruelling series and added that his side have proved that they are ready for the Champions Trophy in England in June.
“There’s a bit of emotion in us winning the series, especially chasing under pressure. We’ll enjoy the victory,” he said. “It doesn’t make it right after we lost the semi-final (at the 2015 World Cup). That will never change.
“But as we sit here now, we’ve just won a game against New Zealand in a final at Eden Park so it’s a great feeling. We’ve come a long way since that semi-final.
“I felt ready [for the Champions Trophy] before this tour but this was a really good test for us. I truly believe we are ready. It will be silly for me to say yes we are going to win it even though I believe that in my heart, but no one is going to make silly statements like that. We are going there to win and I think we are ready, so if all things go well I think we will be there at the end of the tournament.”