Debate rages over top bat

IS SOUTH African batsman AB de Villiers better than the great Sir Donald Bradman?

That's the question which has been fiercely debated by cricket types following de Villiers' 149-run, 44-ball blitz against the West Indies last Sunday.

If I didn't witness it for myself then I wouldn't believe AB's knock was even possible.

To score 149 runs in a one-day international is impressive enough, but de Villiers did it facing the equivalent of just 7.2 overs.

He plundered the West Indies' bowling attack for a whopping 16 sixes, shattering all manner of records along the way.

First came the fastest ODI half-century in just 15 balls, then the fastest century after 31 deliveries.

De Villiers also had the fastest 150 in his sights, with 38 balls up his sleeve to get it done, but he wasn't going to limp to another record and was caught swinging for the rope.

His 149 was an incredible feat but some people have trouble accepting greatness without ranking it in the context of history.

It has to be quantified against every other spectacular cricketing achievement - Bradman in particular.

Former England captain Bob Willis was one prepared to say that de Villiers' record ODI hundred could make him the best batsman of all time.

Others have argued that de Villiers has it too easy in the age of bigger bats and shorter boundaries, along with the high elevation at The Wanderers ground in Johannesburg, to ever be considered better than Bradman.

Personally, I don't see what those on either side hope to achieve.

It's a pointless argument until de Villiers and Bradman have the chance to play against each other.

And there are quite a few hurdles to overcome before we can start selling tickets to that match.

To focus on such frivolous debates every time a modern batsman achieves greatness takes away from what they have done.

If you really want to be pedantic then you could argue as to whether de Villiers' 149 was even the most important innings of the match.

Hashim Amla scored an unbeaten 153, his highest score in ODIs, while Rilee Rossouw celebrated his maiden ODI century after half of his previous 10 innings yielded ducks.

All three knocks were special in their own way. To debate which one was the most significant is a poor use of your time.

It is the same when ranking the greatest batsmen.

I've long been gunning for president of the AB de Villiers fan club, but it's impossible to say he is better than Bradman.

The Don has a Test average of 99.94. He is simply untouchable.

Maybe he wouldn't have been so successful against modern bowling attacks, but he dominated his era in the same way that de Villiers continues to redefine batting in 2015.

I really don't think it matters whether Bradman or de Villiers is the better batsman.

We're never going to have a definitive answer to the question so let's just enjoy what they have both achieved.

They are two absolutely incredible players and that's enough to satisfy me.


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