Former South African cricketer Fanie de Villiers, who produced some of the most lethal opening bowling partnerships with co-cricketer Allan Donald in the 1990’s limited overs cricket, recently said in an interview by CricketNext, that Sachin Tendulkar never paid heed to De Villiers’ slower balls, and that enabled the South African to dismiss the legend time and again, in his whole career.
Sachin Tendulkar was in a phase where all the world-class bowlers used to dread him, except the South African pacer. Fanie de Villiers apparently had a trick in his inventory to beat the ‘Master Blaster’, as he took Sachin’s valuable wicket 4 out of 16 times. Fanie said it was Sachin Tendulkar’s disliking towards slower deliveries that helped him dismiss the legend.
“Sachin never took my slower balls seriously. By slower balls I mean the off-cutters which would grip on the wickets in the sub-continent and catch the batsmen off guard. Back in the early 90s, only Manoj Prabhakar and I bowled them and Sachin wanted to hit them out of the ground. That is how I managed to dismiss him time and again, be it in Sharjah or in India during the Titan Cup in 1996,” said Fanie de Villiers.
Fanie de Villiers doesn’t want to bowl to Virat Kohli
Despite of being well-equipped to baffle the great Tendulkar, Fanie de Villiers is afraid of being hammered by India captain Virat Kohli. When asked about bowling to Kohli, Fanie de Villiers said that he would rather pull his hamstring and walk off the ground. He said in the interview,
“Kohli at the crease? I would rather pull my hammy (hamstring muscle) and walk off to the dressing room. This lad can pack a punch and he is a class player. But, if I did have to bowl to him, it would have to be just outside the off-stump as being a swing bowler, I would then bring the slip fielders into play. You have to attack him on the fourth stump and get him to drive away from his body. If you can get him early, good for you because otherwise you will be on a day long leather chase.”
When Team India star all rounder Hardik Pandya scored 93 combative runs against South Africa in the 1st Test at Cape Town, Fanie de Villiers was sitting in front of his TV screen. Having witnessed the gritty knock, the South African legend said that the all-rounder had all the ingredients that were required to become a world-class cricketer.
However, Fanie de Villiers felt Hardik Pandya needs to polish his bowling skills a bit first, in order to be an all-rounder of international standard. The 53-year-old said,
“He is a warrior and a good batsman coming lower down the order. But Pandya needs to work on his bowling quite a bit. He still has some way to go before he can be called an international level bowler. The wrist action is something that needs to be taken care of and he needs to be guided by a former pacer who knows the tricks of the trade. He has the talent and now needs proper guidance.”
Although Fanie de Villiers is impressed by the talent that is on offer in the Indian cricket team, he sees the batsmen struggling and wants to them to step up if the men in blue want to win. He said,
“You cannot play bad shots and throw your wicket away in South Africa. In these conditions, you need batsmen who will grind it out and play session after session. You cannot start well and throw your wicket away here, and that is where I feel the Indians have lacked. They needed someone like Ajinkya Rahane in the team to help provide that solidarity in the middle-order. You can’t just rely on Kohli all the time,” he signed off.