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Belligerent South African batter Dewald Brevis has big dreams for the future

Belligerent South African batter Dewald Brevis has big dreams for the future
Exciting 20-year-old batter Dewald Brevis. (Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris / Gallo Images)

Dewald Brevis would have loved to be in India with the Proteas for their exciting Cricket World Cup campaign, but his time will come.

Ambitious. Humble. Mature. These are some of the words to describe young South African batter Dewald Brevis. On his day though, he is more commonly known as a nightmare for bowlers.  

There is no doubt that South Africa’s Dewald Brevis is one of the best young cricketers in the world at the moment. Though at just 20 years old, the Johannesburg-born batter is far from reaching his potential. Which in itself is a scary thought.

That’s because Brevis’s powerful hitting has already notched some notable individual milestones. At the 2022 under-19 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, Brevis made history when he accumulated 506 runs from six matches at the tournament. His overall run total is a record for a single tournament.

In October last year, Brevis blitzed 162 runs off just 57 balls for the Titans against the Knights in Potchefstroom. It remains the highest T20 score in SA’s domestic cricket.

Then just 19 years old, the batter’s magnificent innings consisted of a mammoth 13 sixes. He managed just as many fours during that blitzkrieg of an effort. In the process, snapping Pieter Malan’s previous record of 140 not out, which had stood for eight years.

Dewald Brevis

Dewald Brevis of SA U19 bats against Northerns at the Kimberly Oval on 23 March 2021. (Photo: Sydney Mahlangu / BackpagePix)

My role models 

Such magnificent hitting has inevitably drawn comparisons between Brevis and the phenomenal AB de Villiers. On whether such comparisons, as well as the great start he’s had to his young career so far, place him under any pressure, Brevis told Daily Maverick:

“Pressure is real. Pressure is out there. But pressure is a privilege. I always see it as more reason to show what you can do. I’ve learnt how to deal with it as well. Because it’s always going to be there. So, it’s just about how you deal with it.

“God gave me a talent to play the game and I always want to honour Him through it. So, when I’m out there, I always want to play with a smile. I want to enjoy it. That is the key to remove the pressure. Because when you start having pressure, it’s because you’ve forgotten the reason why you’re playing the game,” the willow-wielder added.

Brevis has also previously spoken about the fact that De Villiers is a massive inspiration to how he plays his cricket. But he has always shot down the comparisons, saying he is Dewald Brevis and that’s the legacy he would like to build. As opposed to being called Baby AB, as some have christened him.

“He (De Villiers) gives me advice. We talk quite a lot. He just wants me to be myself. He never wants to give me too much advice. But for me, watching him from a young age, how he played his shots [was very influential to my style]. I still watch some videos because I’m a visual learner. So, I like to see how people play their shots,” the Red Bull-sponsored athlete told Daily Maverick.

Dewald Brevis

Dewald Brevis of South Africa A reacts to his half-century during the first ODI against Sri Lanka A t Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy, Sri Lanka, on 4 June 2023. (Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris / Gallo Images)

“A lot of my shots are from seeing how AB did it. I learnt a lot more shots myself as well. But even Sachin Tendulkar is a player I looked up to from a young age. I was fortunate enough to also meet and spend time with him. To learn from him. To just sit and listen to how he went about his things is really unbelievable,” Dewald continued on his role models.

He also counts current Indian superstar batters Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli as some of the players he looks up to and tries to borrow certain traits from to improve his undeniable natural talent.

With such people in his corner, if he can keep his feet firmly planted on the ground and continue to be a student of the game, he is sure to torment bowlers all over the world for years to come.

South African cricket coach Paddy Upton, speaking to Daily Maverick, acknowledged that Brevis seems to be in the mould of players such as De Villiers and Tendulkar from what he has observed of the youngster. 

However, Upton said to reach the level of the aforementioned greats takes great discipline, to complement the natural talent. 

“It’s very clear that Dewald Brevis has got that X-factor. That’s just a foundation. That’s not nearly enough to go the distance. To go the distance you require other ingredients. Things like sleeping, diet, training, preparation and understanding the game,” Upton said. 

International breakthrough

Owing to his brilliance, whenever a Proteas squad is announced, some fans always ask: “Where is Brevis?” In August, those supporters finally had their calls answered when the batter was included in the Proteas T20 and One-day International (ODI) squads as Australia toured South Africa.

His international debut was less than ideal. He played two T20 innings and only managed a total of five runs as South Africa was trounced 3-0 in the three-match series. He did not play in the ODI matches.

In spite of the disappointment of not scoring more in the matches he played, Brevis was just elated to finally don the green of the Proteas. It was a childhood dream come true.    

“Receiving my first call-up to the Proteas and getting my debut cap [was a highlight for me this year]. From when I was a young boy, I have always dreamt of representing South Africa. That was a special moment that I will remember for the rest of my life,” shared Brevis.  

Owing to his T20 exploits, it is easy to box in the batter as just being a hard-hitting batter who might not be ideal for the longer formats of the game. But Brevis says he hopes to see himself excel in all three major international formats in future.  

“Since I can remember, my dream has always been to play all three formats for South Africa. Test cricket is the pinnacle. So that’s a dream. But I really like all the formats. T20 is amazing as well. I love playing in the different leagues around the world and representing the Mumbai Indians,” he told Daily Maverick.  

The biggest thing for me is that the boys are playing so well. So I believe and know that they also believe that this is our year.

His domestic season so far has seen him show his versatility. In the One-day Cup, he hit two tons in October. His first 100 came off just 78 runs. His second saw him finish with 116 at just over a run a ball. Between those two centuries, he also fell six runs short of a hat-trick of tons, scoring 94.

He has carried that form over to 4-Day Domestic Series. At the beginning of November, he managed a considered 50 as the Titans beat Boland by six wickets to open their campaign in the first class tournament.

Dewald Brevis

Dewald Brevis bats for the Titans against Western Province during the CSA One Day Cup at SuperSport Park in Centurion on 20 October 2023. (Photo: Lee Warren / Gallo Images)

He has batted at different positions in his career. Sometimes opening. Other times coming in at three or four. But which slot does he prefer?

“I want to be very adaptable as a player. I want to do well for the team, wherever they need me. I’ve been successful in the No 3 position at the under-19 World Cup and domestically,” he said.  

“I must say that for the longer formats like 5o-over and Test cricket, I prefer No 3 and four. But wherever the team needs me, I will always be ready. The same in T20. Wherever I’m needed, I’ll be ready,” he continued.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ten players to keep an eye out for at the World Cup in India

“It teaches you as a player to be adaptable and to be able to play all the different situations [you’re exposed to]. Because it is different batting as an opener and batting at three or four. Opening, you create the situation. Whereas at three or four you’re coming into a situation that already exists. So, you have to quickly analyse it and know how to proceed from there.”

Though he would have loved to be in India with the Proteas for their exciting Cricket World Cup campaign, Brevis is backing his boys all the way. He believes this year is theirs to finally break their World Cup duck.

“The biggest thing for me is that the boys are playing so well. So I believe and know that they also believe that this is our year. They just have to take it game by game and stay in the moment. I believe we have it in us to win our first World Cup,” he said. DM

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