AB de Villiers believes the SA20 league can elevate the game of young South Africans like Jordan Hermann the way the IPL did for him.
De Villiers was just 24 when he played in the inaugural IPL and still finding his feet at international level. But after sharing a dressing room with some of the game’s greatest players, he was transformed from a precocious talent to a global superstar.
Now in his first stint as a TV commentator for SuperSport at the SA20, De Villiers is seeing first-hand the amount of young local talent South African cricket has to offer. And he believes the experience of being involved with world-renowned players and coaches will help take them to the next level.
“It is difficult to explain the value of youngsters spending time with some of the best players and coaches in the world,” De Villiers said.
“I had that experience in 2008 in my very first IPL. I found myself in the same dressing room as Glenn McGrath, Dan Vettori, Shoaib Malik, Viru Sehwag … the list goes on.
“The impact that had on my game was immense. You saw my game grow from 2008 onwards and I took it to the next level.
“It was largely because of that. Spending time with experienced campaigners from different countries.”
De Villiers has kept a close eye on MI Cape Town prodigy Dewald Brevis but also identified Hermann, the Sunrisers Eastern Cape opener, as a player to watch.
The 21-year-old was a late addition to the Sunrisers’ squad after being called up as a wildcard.
“At the top of my head among the batters is Jordan Hermann. I didn’t even know about him before the tournament to be honest,” De Villiers said. “I heard his name once, and then I watched him bat, and I was really impressed.
“I would love to work with these batters. I really have a lot of passion in regard to that. You have to evolve as a player. If you stagnate you will end up not enjoying the game.
“I think there needs to be constant check-ups. Tthat’s what kept me fresh. I always wanted to raise the bar every single season until the very end.”