Teenager nicknamed ‘Baby AB’ wants to learn from Tendulkar during MI stint

He is nicknamed ‘Baby AB’ for the remarkable resemblance in his batting to South Africa legend AB de Villiers, but U19 star Dewald Brevis knows that comparison is a double-edged sword and would rather have his own identity and style of play.

The 18-year-old was recently picked by Mumbai Indians for IPL 2022 via the Mega Auctions after he was catapulted to global fame during the 2022 U19 World Cup, where Brevis scored 506 runs — the most in a single edition of the tournament surpassing Shikhar Dhawan’s 505 in 2004 — and picked up seven wickets with his part-time leg-spin.

Now with the focus on him, Brevis wants to take the best from ABD and his idol Sachin Tendulkar to develop his own style of batting.

One of the things that he wants to do is remain humble like Tendulkar and de Villiers despite his rising fame as a batter for the future.

Brevis idolised Tendulkar growing up and wants to implement many things from the Mumbai legend’s batting in his game. Being with Mumbai Indians gives him a chance to interact with Tendulkar and learn from him a sTendulkar is the team’s mentor.

“The way he played was always an inspiration to me. My favourite innings of his is the ODI double-century, which happened to be against South Africa! I remember watching the match with my brother — it was an amazing innings,” Brevis said in an exclusive chat with mumbaiindians.com, the official website of the five-time IPL champions.

“I read his autobiography ‘Playing it My Way’ and there are a lot of things from there that I’d like to implement in my game. One thing I learnt from him is that you have to be humble because pride can be yo”r downfall.”

About the comparison with de Villiers because of his wide-open stance, the half-crouch and the crisp shots, Brevis is clear about what he thinks of it.

“It is an honour to be compared to him, but it is important for me to have my own identity. I want to be known as Dewald Brevis,” he declared.

Like any South African kid harbouring dreams of becoming a cricketer, ABD is an inspiration to Brevis and while many of us can only imagine what it must be like to meet our heroes, the young Protea actually got an opportunity to meet him.

“We went to the same school and played under the same coach so when I first met him, I could not get a word out. There were many things I wanted to ask him but I was starstruck,” he remembered.

Since then, ABD has visited Brevis’ home and they have trained together and the now-retired pro has become somewhat of a mentor to Brevis, the report said.

“I would say he is great to learn from – he makes time for you and that is something I really appreciate. I mean, he is AB de Villiers and he could be a very different guy but he is very humble. I plan to ask him about his knowledge of the IPL soon,” said Brevis.

‘Being picked by MI gives me a lot of confidence’

Being picked up for IPL was a bit unexpected for the teenager and says being picked by Mumbai Indians gives him lot of confidence.

“I did not expect it at all. I was playing for the Titans in the CSA T20 challenge during the auction and my name literally came up in the middle of the game. I remember Quinton de Kock asking me to come up to the TV to watch what was happening,” said Brevis.

“My parents were also really excited. They started crying in all that excitement because, we as a family, have followed the IPL and MI all through. My first memory of playing cricket was in our backyard and from replicating ‘IPL games’ there to actually playing for MI is a dream come true. It gives me a lot of confidence to be picked by the most successful IPL team and motivates me to add one more trophy to that cabinet.”

The teenager has also slowly built up his knowledge of MI in recent months.

“MI has always been one of my favourite teams. We were in isolation before the U19 World Cup and I watched the Netflix documentary ‘Cricket Fever’. I can sense that familial feeling and how the players are one big family,” he explained.

And Brevis is also looking forward to interacting with some of the many stars in the MI squad.

“I would love to share the dressing room with Rohit Sharma. He is a wonderful batter, smokes the bowlers and I have seen him rise through the ranks over the years. I am grateful that both Jofra Archer and Jasprit Bumrah are on the team. I think it will be tougher to face Bumrah, I have seen him bowl live at Supersport Park (in Centurion) for India against South Africa and it is surreal that I will be facing him in the nets soon,” concluded Brevis.

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