BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Barbados Tridents assistant coach, Vasbert Drakes, expects South African superstar AB de Villiers to be a major asset for the franchise and believes he will be key to any title-run when the Caribbean Premier League bowls off next week.
The right-hander is among the elite batsmen in the world game, having dominated all three formats, and is poised to make his debut for Tridents in the season which runs from June 29 to August 7.
“[AB] is an absolute genius of the modern game. I have met him a couple of times and with my involvement in cricket in South Africa when he was coming on the scene,” said Drakes.
“A fantastic player, fantastic human being and very humble, so surely the team will be excited to have such a high-dimensional player in the side who can win a game in the space of a couple of overs.
“We recognise that he will have tremendous potential and influence on the side, and everyone is really looking forward to having him as part of the group.”
The 32-year-old de Villiers, currently involved in the ongoing Tri-Nations Series here, has scored over 8 000 runs in both Tests and one-dayers, and also boasts an average of over 50 in both formats.
In 210 Twenty20s, he has already amassed over 5 000 runs at an average of 32 and a strike rate of 144.
De Villiers headlines a formidable Tridents line-up that includes Pakistani Shoaib Malik, South Africa seamers Wayne Parnell and David Wiese, along with captain Kieron Pollard and West Indies Test and one-day captain, Jason Holder.
And Drakes said once the team gelled and played as a unit, Tridents could once again reap success in the tournament.
“We back ourselves as a unit to continue to perform at the level that people expect us to. The nucleus of the squad is still there and we have some high impact players like AB, Robin Peterson and Kyle Hope who is a fantastic young talent,” Drakes said.
“We have Parnell, Wiese and a really good combination of players. With Malik back, obviously we missed him in the latter half of last year, he did a fantastic job for us and let’s hope that he can continue in that rich vein of form.
“Most of all, we have a group of players where we try to create a family environment where they want to play for each other … and they believe that they are winners. And that we will continue to prepare the environment and prepare guys so those performances can continue in the manner that will bring us some silverware.”
He added: “In T20 cricket, as you know, you can lose a game within two overs, but I think we have skills and it’s about how well we adapt this time around and execute on the given day, and how we execute under pressure. That’s something that we really pride ourselves upon.”
Tridents won the CPL title in 2014 in a dramatic, rain-hit final against Guyana Amazon Warriors.
This year, they open against reigning champions Trinbago Knight Riders in Port of Spain on July 1.