IPL legend AB De Villiers compares Brevis to Surya Kumar Yadav and picks the young South African to shine in the white-ball format.
New Delhi: The 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League is upon us and cricket pundits have started picking the players who are likely to shine in the world’s biggest T20 league. South African teenager Dewald Brevis is expected to turn heads, believes former IPL superstar AB De Villiers .
This will be Dewald Brevis’ second season in IPL. In 2022, Mumbai Indians picked the highly-rated South African all-rounder for Rs 3 crores. Five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians are in rebuilding mode and Brevis will surely be among the core players who can help MI regain their glorious days.
Brevis is nicknamed as ‘Baby AB’. He has shown the versatility in stroke-making and bats in the middle-order, a position where De Villiers, under pressure, excelled in both building an innings and shifting gears while chasing.
It is not for nothing that De Villiers is backing Brevis to shine in IPL 2023. Brevis has just played for MI Cape Town in the SA20. He ran hot and cold with the bat. An unbeaten 70 off 41 balls helped MI Cape Town beat Davis Miller-led Paarl Royals by eight wickets. Brevis had two more scores in the 40s, opening the batting.
When IPL starts on March 31, Brevis is expected to match ready when Mumbai Indians play their first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 2 at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium. While he will certainly be an opening option, MI may want him to bat in the middle order where Surya Kumar Yadav will be a mainstay.
Dewald Brevis will be 20 when IPL will be at the mid-way stage. He is at that stage of his career where he can only learn and learn. And what better to be in a team where there are seasoned players like Rohit Sharma, Surya Kumar Yadav and Cameron Green.
AB De Villers feels Brevis has shades of Yadav in his game. Yadav, nicknamed SKY, has rocked white-ball cricket with his range of strokes and power-hitting. He says: “There are certainly similarities in the way that they approach the game. They’re both really aggressive, they want to take the bowlers on and they don’t let the bowlers settle.
“Dewald is obviously a lot younger and has still got a lot to learn, whereas SKY is experienced these days. He come a long way having performed well for the Mumbai Indians at the IPL. But they both excite me a lot.”
Dewald Brevis has the potential to fill De Villiers’ shoes for South Africa, a team that has lost a lot of punch and flair at the world stage. At least, the numbers indicate Brevis has the promise to do so. MI spotted him after the South African captain became the highest run-getter in the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2021-22. In six matches, Brevis amassed 506 runs, including two hundreds and three fifties. With a strike-rate of 90-plus, Brevis was simply outstanding.
Brevis has more big numbers to back his talent. He was the youngest South African at 19 years 185 days to slam a men’s T20 century. By slamming 162, Brevis is the highest T20 scorer in South African cricket. Only Chris Gayle (175 not out) and Aaron Finch (172) are ahead of Brevis.
Season 2023 will be one of redemption for Mumbai Indians. Having finished last in 2022 among 10 teams, MI will look to claw back. Brevis will be part of the plans and he will get a lot of ‘home’ support from former South African stumper and coach, Mark Boucher, the new Mumbai Indians boss. In his maiden season with MI, Brevis scored 161 runs in seven matches at an average of 23.
His strike-rate was a breezy 142.48 but that’s not enough. It’s time to produce the big numbers on Indian soil. And AB De Villiers will surely be watching.
(Soumitra Bose is a senior journalist and research scholar. He tweets @soumitra65. Views are personal)