De Villiers will go up against Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and Sri Lankan run-machines Angelo Mathews and Kumar Sangakkara for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy that goes to the best cricketer overall between August 26, 2013 and September 17, 2014.
Fellow South Africans Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn, as well as Indian batting star Virat Kohli, will be his rivals for the ICC ODI Cricketer of the Year award.
Hopefully the judges will also take into account the fact that De Villiers has been keeping wicket exceptionally well while starring with the bat. Scoring 932 runs in 10 Tests at an average of 54.80 and 963 runs in 20 ODIs at an average of over 60 is great work in anyone’s book.
The fiery Johnson enjoyed a phenomenal haul of 59 wickets from his eight Tests in the period under review, three of which were against world number ones South Africa, while Sangakkara gathered 1502 runs from 11 Tests, with four centuries, and Mathews, who took over the Sri Lankan captaincy from Mahela Jayawardene, averaged 92 in Tests and just under 54 in ODIs.
De Kock’s five centuries in ODIs during the qualifying period, including three in a row against India, made him a certainty for the ODI shortlist but how he was not named amongst the four for the Emerging Player of the Year award is a mystery. Instead Kiwis and Englishmen dominate that category, with Jimmy Neesham, Corey Anderson, Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes nominated.
Steyn ended the visits to the crease of 36 batsmen in 16 ODIs and had an economy rate of just 4.32 runs-per-over, and was selected to the ICC Test Team of the Year for a record seventh successive year, while the honour has gone to De Villiers for the fifth time.
De Kock has joined that duo in the ICC ODI XI of the year to give South Africa equal-most representation with India – captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Mohammad Shami.
Amazingly, Hashim Amla has failed to crack the nod for any ICC awards this year.