AB de Villiers: ‘IPL changed our lives, SA20 comes at a really good time for South Africa’ | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: The inaugural edition of SA20 kicks off on January 10 and former South African batsman AB De Villiers hopes the league will give youngsters a foothold and the foundations to make themselves known at the highest level.
De Villiers, who has played in the Indian Premier League since its inception in 2008, said the IPL had changed his life and hoped the SA20 would do the same for young cricketers in South Africa.
The SA20 will feature six newly built teams with the home opener derby between MI Cape Town and Paarl Royals setting up an explosive start for the new kid on the block in South African cricket. All teams belong to IPL franchises.
De Villiers said the SA20 is just the boost the game needs in South Africa.
“I think SA20 comes at a very good time for South African cricket. We have seen the incredible things these leagues have done for cricket in particular countries,” De Villiers told Cricket South Africa.
“Giving our youngsters that base and the basics to come forward at the highest level against the best players in the world, that’s what it’s all about.”
Among the youngsters De Villiers will be watching closely is MI Cape Town’s young batting sensation Dewald Brevis.
The 19-year-old has been a revelation since bursting onto the scene at the ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, when he broke Shikhar Dhawan’s tournament record for the most large number of races.
He then carried his form into the IPL, Caribbean Premier League and most notably in Cricket SA’s T20 Challenge competition when he threw 162 from just 57 balls.
De Villiers believes Brevis’ development will be greatly aided by playing alongside England’s T20 World Cup winners such as Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone in the same way he learned from grizzled veterans such as Australian superstar Glenn McGrath when he joined the IPL in 2008.
“It was a great occasion for me and many other players. The start of the IPL changed our lives. People are really passionate about cricket. Not only with the home team, but they also support the members of other teams,” said De Villiers.
“The most important thing for me was the people I met. I think of Glenn McGrath and the time I spent with him. He was a badass and all of a sudden I sit with him in the locker room and drink a beer with him.
De Villiers also praised his former national team captain Graeme Smith, who in his role as SA20 League commissioner, assured that South Africa will also now have a league to compete with the best in the world
“Graeme and I have come a long way together, and having him at the top of SA cricket at the moment, making a lot of good calls and turning things around,” he said.
“The SA20…I don’t think it would have been possible without him, with all his connections and experience. I think we all owe Graeme a big thank you for bringing this great tournament to South Africa.
(With PTI entries)


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