Not a dream anymore to win World Cup: AB

Not a dream anymore to win World Cup: AB

MAGICIAN AB de Villiers says winning IPL for RCB is his sole focus at the moment. DH Photo/ Srikanta Sharma R

One piece of silverware every player loves to have is a World Cup winner's medal. No matter whatever the individual accomplishments, greatness sometimes is judged by success in the showpiece event. It's like the holy grail. 

AB de Villiers, one of the modern day greats who sobbed inconsolably after losing in the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup to New Zealand, said his perspective on World Cup has changed and he no longer craves to win it.

"All my focus is on IPL at the moment," the South African, looking his usual best following injury concerns last year, told a group of media here on Monday. "I'm at the IPL and trying to win as many games as I can. I've committed to all three formats last season and I loved every second of it and I'll take it one game at a time from here on. My ultimate dream is not to win a World Cup. I've changed my mindset. I feel it will be nice to win it -- it'll be a bonus -- but if I don't it's not going to define my career."

De Villiers, along with Virat Kohli, is considered the bulwark of Royal Challengers batting line-up. When asked if the pressure gets overbearing on the duo as the rest fail to fire consistently, the 34-year-old said it's quite natural to expect a lot from internationals.

"To be very honest -- I've heard it before as well -- every single team has an international player in the top-four with the pressure to score more runs, no matter who you are. My good friend Heinrich Klassen last night, I know he felt pressure because he's an international player and is expected to score runs. Suresh Raina will feel pressure. Yusuf Pathan, batting lower down the order, will face the pressure. It's normal. I don't feel extra pressure, I don't think Virat feels it either. We have a team of match-winners and it's up to us to share the load. I think it's going to happen this season."

One of the stand-out features of de Villiers is his ability to play shots all-round wicket that has earned him the nickname Mr 360. While players and fans are often left astounded with his dazzling shot-making, the great man, sporting a big smile, said it's all about doing the basics right.

"I have spoken to a lot of youngsters a number of times and they look at me as If I'm crazy because I tell them it is just basics -- keep it simple, keep your head still, watch the ball and don’t think too much. And they are like 'no, that can’t be it'. But, it is what it is all about  -- it is mastering the basics and then the rest falls into place. I have surprised myself throughout my career. It is never been a planned act -- it has been all about the basics. The youngsters just think how I do that and stuff, but it is actually just the basics."

T20 cricket is often considered the battleground of youth owing to its slam-bang nature but this IPL has seen two batsmen aged over 35 years -- Chris Gayle and Shane Watson -- score the two centuries so far. Veterans MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo and de Villiers have been brilliant too. When asked if it's just a myth that T20 is meant primarily for youth, de Villiers said it's too early to make a judgement. 

"We’re not even halfway yet. Anyone can still come through in the tournament. Obviously experienced players play a big part to handle pressure situations. In the last five years or so I have seen a lot of talent come through. I see youngsters playing without any fear so I won’t be surprised if a couple of players come through. I won’t say that only the experienced players are performing, we’re not even halfway through yet, a lot of time for the youngsters to do well."

AB hailed skipper Kohli, with whom he shares a great rapport. "The true judge of a good captain is when you don’t perform well and still do a good job of leading a side. He’s come through with flying colours when it comes to that. He’s still putting in a lot of effort and energy into the team, into preparing us and keeping energy during training sessions. That’s the characteristic of a true captain and a really good leader. He has a been a fantastic captain for us and I know that he’s going to score a lot of runs for us in the rest of the tournament. Even if he doesn’t, I know he’ll be a good leader and the team will back him up."

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