Rangpur Riders’ South African batsman AB de Villiers on Friday hailed the ‘quality of cricket’ in the Bangladesh Premier League and said he was happy to be part of the tournament finally.
De Villiers is set to make his BPL debut against Sylhet Sixers today and is expected to provide some fireworks in order to bail out his team, which has so far failed to get their all guns blazing.
‘I have heard good things about it [BPL]. I have guys at the IPL say what it’s like, and they said quality of cricket is fantastic,’ de Villiers said after his first training session with Rangpur in Sylhet.
‘It is a tournament that’s growing from strength to strength every year. I am very happy to be part of it this year.’
De Villiers, who surprisingly retired from international cricket last year, hasn’t played in any game since making a 52-ball 93 for Tshwane Spartans in South Africa’s Mzansi League.
De Villiers suggested that Mzansi League was the curtain-raiser for him ahead of few other Twenty20 competitions, including BPL, where he is going to participate.
‘You can call it [Mzansi League] the start of my new season. I have to stay fit and busy,’ he said, adding that he had no issue coming to Bangladesh to play in BPL.
‘I love coming to Bangladesh. I haven’t been here for a while. We got a really nice team in the Rangpur Riders. We haven’t played as of yet, but hoping to turn it around and finish well in the tournament,’ he said.
Rangpur won just two of their last six matches, which put their title defence in tatters unless a turnaround in a very quick time. The team management was looking to de Villiers to help them change their fortunes having failed to click as a batting unit so far.
De Villiers said he was aware of the expectations and added that it was nothing new for him.
‘It [expectations] motivates me to go out and play well,’ said the 34-year old batsman.
‘I have expectations throughout my career, so it is nothing new to me. The game of cricket is up and down. You can’t perform every game. I am also realistic about the sport. I don’t expect too much of myself. But I do expect some fireworks from time to time,’ he said.
De Villiers said he has no problem batting in turning pitches which is mostly on offer in BPL.
‘The wicket is always good. You get some that turn a little bit. I don’t mind,’ he said.
‘I have always enjoyed wickets that turn a bit, and then you get some good wickets as well. I have seen our last game against Sylhet. The wicket played pretty well.’
After three low-scoring matches on the trot in the second phase, hosts Sylhet entertained local crowd on Wednesday by putting 187-5 on board before restricting Rangpur to 160-6.
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