AB De Villiers gave an early indication of his versatility in his debut season against England in 2004/05 when he opened the batting, was used in the middle-order and also kept wicket. In addition, it soon became evident that he was going to become the natural successor to Herschelle Gibbs as the Proteas’ best fielder.
In the same series he made his maiden Test century at SuperSport Park and quickly established himself as one of the most aggressive and entertaining players in world cricket.
He made key centuries in the Proteas’ away Test series victories in England and Australia in 2008. Earlier in that year he had become the first South African to score a Test double century against India.
He took his career to a new level in the 2010-11 season when he made South Africa’s then highest Test score ever (278 not out vs. Pakistan), made South Africa’s fastest ever Test century (75 balls vs. India) and together with Morne Morkel broke the South African 10th wicket partnership record (108 vs. Pakistan) that had stood for more than 80 years.
He was appointed captain of both the ODI and T20 squads and vice-captain of the Test squad at the start of the 2011-12 season and celebrated the occasion by being named in the ICC Test Team of the Year for 2011. He has since been a regular choice in both the ICC Test and ODI teams. In his captaincy debut ODI series against Sri Lanka he led the Proteas to a 3-2 victory and was named Sunfoil Man of the Series.
He and Hashim Amla hold the ODI third wicket all-time partnership record of 238, established against Pakistan in 2013. He is also the joint second fastest batsman in the history of the game to score 6 000 ODI runs.
Following the tragic injury to Mark Boucher that hastened that player’s international retirement he has taken over the wicketkeeping gloves for the Proteas in Test cricket as well.