Nagpur, Nov 2: Former South African fast bowler Fanie de Villiers has compared AB de Villiers to batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and feels he is "even better" than the Indian in One Day Internationals (ODIs).
The 31-year-old De Villiers, the South African ODI captain recently led the side to 3-2 victory over India. He was in great form, smashing 3 centuries in the 5-match rubber. He finished as the leading run scorer in the series with 358 runs.
Now, the right-hander is preparing to face the Virat Kohli-led team in a 4-Test series starting in Mohali on Thursday (November 5).
According to the 51-year-old Fanie, De Villiers is going to be more popular than Tendulkar in world cricket. "Can I tell you something about AB de Villiers? AB is going to be more popular than Sachin Tendulkar in world cricket," he told "The Times of India" today (November 2).
"That's the calibre of a person we are talking about; that's the cricketer we are talking about; that's the loveable, marketable player we are talking about. He is in the Sachin Tendulkar category," he added.
Fanie, who played 18 Tests and 83 ODIs for South Africa, went on to say that De Villiers was same as Tendulkar. "If you are in the Tendulkar category, when it comes to marketing the game of cricket, you are special. You can compare his records with Tendulkar; you feel this guy is even better than Tendulkar in ODIs. You can compare his popularity around the world and at home, he is in the category of Sachin Tendulkar.
"It's a privilege to be in that class or category on and off the field. He is very much the same as Tendulkar. He hasn't got tattoos, he hasn't got earrings; he hasn't got that flashy image. He is not a fashion freak and all that shows what kind of a character he is."
Rated as one of the best batsmen in world cricket at the moment, De Villiers has so far hit 23 ODI tons and 21 hundreds in Tests. He has accumulated over 17,000 international runs.