Wed, 31 May 2023

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 29 (ANI): Legendary South Africa batter AB de Villiers, who represented Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for a decade, recalled his first-ever interaction with franchise's former skipper Virat Kohli.

De Villiers made a return to Bengaluru on Sunday to be a part of the 'RCB Unbox' event, where he was inducted into the franchise's Hall of Fame along with long-time teammate Chris Gayle. The jerseys of both IPL stars were retired. Gayle and de Villiers also had a 'lap of honour' at RCB's home arena, M Chinnaswamy Stadium in front of thousands of fans.

On Tuesday, he had a two-way interaction with Gayle on the recent episode of 'RCB Bold Diaries'.

Recalling his first interaction with Virat, de Villiers said that he thought that back then the Indian batter was "cocky" and "arrogant" but as he knew him in later years, he realised that Virat was a different person.

"I thought that he was quite cocky and arrogant when I met him for the first time. He had this hairstyle and smirk. But the moment I came to know him better, I knew that he was a different guy. The more I knew him, the more my respect for him grew as a human. I think that he has a barrier around him when I got to meet him for the first time. And that barrier opened up when I started interacting with him as a person. Lots of respect after our first meeting," said de Villiers as quoted by the official website of RCB.

Virat and AB would go on to not only become close friends, but also have numerous memorable partnerships on the field. A notable one took place on May 2016 against the now-defunct Gujarat Lions, where they added 229 runs for the second wicket in just 96 balls. de Villiers scored 129 of just 52 balls, with 10 fours and 12 sixes. Virat also scored 109 of 55 balls, consisting of five fours and eight sixes. They took RCB to a massive total of 248/3. Gujarat Lions folded for just 104 runs during their chase.

de Villiers represented the side from 2011-2021 in 157 matches. He scored 4,522 runs at an average of 41.10. He scored two centuries and 37 fifties for the side at a strike rate of over 158.

Virat on the other hand, has stayed loyal to the franchise since the league's inception in 2008. He is the leading scorer in IPL history with 6,411 runs in 208 innings across 216 matches at an average of 36.43 and a strike rate of 129.72. He has scored five centuries and 42 fifties in his IPL career, with the best score of 113.

Talking about the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, de Villiers said that he would always remember the butterflies he felt on entering the venue, packed with thousands of cricket-crazy fans.

"When we were about to enter the Chinnaswamy, the crowd would absolutely go berserk. The people are so close to the field that they would always bring out the best in us and they are always that pumped up. That energy in them was so contagious that it would rub off me and it would leave me all stoked up. So, yeah, great memories."RCB will start their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season with a match against Mumbai Indians (MI) at their home arena, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on April 2.

Last year, RCB qualified for playoffs and lost to Rajasthan Royals in qualifier 2 by seven wickets.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Squad strength: 25 players (overseas 8)Players bought during IPL 2023 auction - Reece Topley (Rs 1.9 crore), Himanshu Sharma (Rs 20 lakh), Will Jacks (Rs 3.2 crore), Manoj Bhandage (Rs 20 lakh), Rajan Kumar (Rs 70 lakh), Avinash Singh (Rs 60 lakh).

Players retained - Faf du Plessis (c), Virat Kohli, Suyash Prabhudessai, Rajat Patidar, Dinesh Karthik, Anuj Rawat, Finn Allen, Glenn Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, David Willey, Karn Sharma, Mahipal Lomror, Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood, Siddarth Kaul, Akash Deep. (ANI)

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