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Gilchrist brands de Villiers most valuable cricketer on planet

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Former Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist has lavished praise on South Africa’s swashbuckling skipper AB de Villiers, describing him as the most valuable cricketer on the planet ahead of the World Cup next month.

In an exclusive TV interviews with the ICC, which is available for free download and editorial use on the Online Media Zone, the ICC Cricket Hall of Famer also shared his excitement at the event being staged by Australia and New Zealand for the first time in 23 years.

In a candid interview, Gilchrist, who is sixth in the list of leading run-getters in the history of the World Cup and with 52 dismissals is the most successful wicketkeeper, also reflected on the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999, 2003 and 2007, which Australia won in three different conditions and against three different oppositions.

But heaping praise on de Villiers, Gilchrist said that De Villiers was the most valuable cricketer on the planet and his versatility was extraordinary and amazing to watch.

The three-time World Cup winner further said that he was inventive as he can play a touch game or a power game. Then, he can also keep wickets. He’s also one of the best fielders in the world and recently has taken some wickets when he had a bowl. And he leads his team very well and thus he was the most valuable cricketer around, he added.

De Villiers will feature in his third ICC Cricket World Cup. In 175 ODIs to date, the 30-year-old has scored 7,210 runs with 18 centuries and 42 half-centuries. He has captained South Africa in 56 ODIs, winning 31 matches. Behind the stumps, he has accounted for 88 batsmen.

Closer to home, Gilchrist also tipped Australia’s Mitchell Marsh to make a big impact in the tournament alongside David Warner, while he believed that India’s MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli would have a big say in the destination of the prestigious trophy.

Sharing the excitement about the event to be played between 14 February and 29 March, Gilchrist said that next month’s tournament was going to be really exciting. Conditions, particularly in Australia were going to be conducive to high scores, entertaining cricket and flamboyant play.

In New Zealand, there are more result-based wickets on offer, as there’s normally a bit in them for the bowlers. The batsmen might struggle a bit more over there but I think we’re going to see an exciting and a close tournament, he added.

Reflecting on his time at the ICC Cricket World Cup, which saw Australia complete a hat-trick of titles, Gilchrist said they were all very different (tournaments). In 1999 (in England), they just scraped through. They lost two of their first three games and one slip-up and they knew they were out of the tournament. So, they were on a knife’s edge, including the famous tied semi-final (against South Africa). It was close.

In 2003 (in South Africa), again they were a little bit shaky early on, but they got it right. They had a few close calls where a number of games went right down to the wire and it took some flashes of individual brilliance to get them over the line. They ended up winning undefeated, but it was a lot closer than that.

In 2007 (in the West Indies), they just dominated. Guys like Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hayden were taking opponents out of play, so that was probably the ‘cruisier’ tournament. Not without hard work or commitment, but certainly there was a bit more of a relaxed view certainly compared to the other two.

All three tournaments were very individual in their own right, but they were all wonderful memories.

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