AB de Villiers: 'Marco Jansen can be like Shaun Pollock'

The batting legend hoped for a Pollock-like trajectory to young Jansen's career, identifying him as one of the world's most promising talents. 
Ab de Villiers?width=963&height=541&resizemode=4

South African great AB de Villiers picked out young allrounder Marco Jansen as one of the most promising players to have emerged out of the first edition of the SA20 league. 

The legend believes Jansen has the potential to end as Proteas' leading allrounders in the bracket of what greats such as Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock managed to achieve. 

Specifically, De Villiers reckons, "Jansen can be like Pollock", wherein he is a "bowling allrounder", who is a specialist bowler first and is able to hit critical runs lower down the order. Pollock built a legacy at doing so for South Africa, finishing as one of the finest ever cricketers to have played the game. 

Jansen, who has had an impressive start with the ball, especially in Tests, has batted consistently at No.7 for an in-transition South African side as they have focused on maximising his batting ability. 

The 22-year-old averages 21.65 with the ball after 10 Tests. And while his batting average stands at a measly 19.78, he has managed to play some fine knocks in his career already, reinforcing De Villiers' point. 

AB de Villiers on Marco Jansen 

In the ongoing SA20, however, it is Jansen's batting that has made him key to Sunrisers Eastern Cape's plans. The youngster has scored 158 runs at a SR of 156.43 while also bagging five wickets at an ER of 7.44 with his left-arm fast bowling. 

"He has batted very well, and he has had a fantastic couple of seasons. Once again, another player I had not heard of, and all of a sudden in that IPL season (IPL 2022) he erupted and people told me he is a South African and I didn't even know," De Villiers said in a video interview for ESPNcricinfo. 

"That is the beauty of these leagues, the scouting.. Marco, specifically in my opinion, is a bowling allrounder," he added. "If he feels differently, great for him. He has got a fantastic opportunity to contribute with both bat and ball. I think of some of the best allrounders in the world: Ben Stokes, Jacques Kallis back in the day, there was nothing more rewarding for them than being able to contribute in both skills."

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De Villiers doesn't see Jansen's batting ever transforming him into a cricketer like Kallis was for South Africa, but he thinks there is a Pollock clown somewhere to be attained in the times to come. The former cricketer noticed a pattern to the youngster's Test game similar to that of the ex Prpteas skipper. 

"You need to decide whether you're going to be a bowling allrounder or a batting allrounder," De Villiers said. "I still feel Maco Jansen (is a bowling allrounder)... we have seen him perform in Test cricket with the ball in hand, you don't just rock up and do that. And if I have to think about him batting in Test matches, yes, he can score some runs but he is not going to be a level of a Jacques Kallis."

"So in my opinion, a bowling allrounder.. make sure you're bowling is right up there and you try and be the best in the world (at it). But definitely work on your batting. We saw with someone like Shaun Pollock, he was a bowling allrounder, but he came out and scored some Test hundreds (down the order). He contributed with the bat in hand in all the formats." 

De Villiers hoped for a Pollock-like trajectory to Jansen's career, wherein he keeps bowling as his top priority but also works on his batting skills and maximise his potential in either skill.