The Proteas’ middle-order dynamo likes doing things his way … and it seems it’s bringing the best of of him again.
When AB de Villiers says he wants to take a break, it’s a clean one.
That’s why he actually didn’t even prepare for the new season with any of Cricket South Africa’s coaches.
He wanted to do it by himself.
“I love working by myself,” the Proteas star said after winning the Man-of-the-Match award in Thursday’s T20 victory over Bangladesh in Bloemfontein.
“And I had the opportunity to do that.”
De Villiers had an extended time to get his ducks in a row because he only decided to return to Test cricket again in September, when new national coach Ottis Gibson was appointed.
That meant he didn’t slug it out in the red-ball series against England.
So he asked former Titans teammate Kruger van Wyk, who’s nowadays technical director at TuksCricket, if he could hang out with them in Hatfield.
“I did a lot of gym work on my own to get myself fit again,” said De Villiers.
“I then went to the University of Pretoria to work a bit with Kruger. Curtly Diesel (a New Zealander doing his coaching apprenticeship under Van Wyk) also helped a lot.
“They also organised me a few net bowlers – and good ones too – like (former national Under-19 seamer) Corbin Bosch.”
De Villiers is not trying to be arrogant when he emphasises how he wants to do things his way.
He’s a player who’s appeared in 408 international matches and scored 19 241 runs.
There’s precious little he can still be coached.
“I know my game pretty well. I needed to work on a few technical things but it really was only a trigger and a timing thing,” said De Villiers.
“It’s something that I got right. It actually clicked during my return to competitive cricket in a Sunfoil Series game for the Titans against the Warriors. Something just fell into place and I’m moving my feet really well.”
Indeed, the former ODI skipper has provided glimpses of his brutal, entertaining self during the Bangladesh tour.
There was his outrageous 176 in Paarl – De Villiers’ highest score – and his 27-ball 49 in Bloemfontein also threatened to be another showstopper.
“I just enjoy playing the game again. I love making an impact.”