A few days ago, former South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs was very vocal about his thoughts on the 19-year-old prodigy, Dewald Brevis. Despite all the hype, Gibbs was insistent that the 19-year-old should only be picked if he has proven his worth in the longer format of the game.
But after his knock on Monday, Gibbs took to Twitter to say “Congrats to young Brevis, hope it is the first of many 100s.” Brevis is already a global superstar, and even the legendary T20 star, AB de Villiers attests to his talent, “No need to say more.”
Wearing the iconic No.17 jersey, Brevis pulled off the performance of a lifetime. Roll down the memory, the 19-year-old, plying his trade for the Patriots, smacked Akeal Hosein and Daryn Dupavillon for five sixes in six deliveries. It was really the day he strengthened the case for himself in the shortest format.
Brevis is a superstar.
Even when everyone was aware of his talent, what Brevis did on Monday was beyond the unthinkable. If there was ever a door for selection, he by now has surely broken that. What Brevis did against the Knights was perhaps a knock of a lifetime. It is almost close to what Chris Gayle did in the Indian Premier League, a record that has since then been immortalized.
Till that knock, in the tournament, Brevis had scored a total of 154 runs, with a strike-rate of 136.3, which in itself is eye-catching. But then he decided to save the best for the Knights.
“He’s still 19, so much has been spoken of him, he will always be learning, his ability to assess the situation is his best suite,” called the commentator when the right-hander opened the innings, alongside Jiveshan Pillay. And he spared no time, got into the mood immediately and started tearing apart the bowlers.
In the fourth over of the innings, Brevis smashed the leather out of the venue, out of the city, out into the selectors’ office. The best part of it was not the connection, not the distance but the way his head didn’t even lift after the shot. He knew that was travelling, everyone knew that he was travelling soon to be part of the national team.
If you are still in doubt, don’t be, Brevis is not the future, he is the present for South Africa. For reasons unknown, he hasn't played for the national team at the senior level. But at this rate, it is only a matter of time.
“Even as a young boy, I have always wanted to hit the ball as far as possible. And for me, from the start it's always [about being] positive and fearless. You don't want to go on the reckless side, but just play ball by ball, stay positive and be in the moment. I just stayed in the moment,” Brevis told Supersport.
By the sixth over, the Titans had already raced off to a great start. But what if I tell you that Brevis was just warming up till now? Wouldn’t it be ludicrous on my part? Nope, because whatever he had done till now was just brewing. What he went on to do is perhaps going to be unrivalled in South African cricket, unless of course, another talent comes tearing the door apart in the future.
He was on 49 off 17, touching distance of becoming the fastest South African to get to a 50 in T20s. And in the most Brevis of fashion, he took on the spinner, smacking him well over the boundary to bring up his half-century. The celebration wasn’t muted. It was loud, in your face and that really in essence defines him.
Brevis is a spectacular talent. He can very well become a three-format player in the future but in T20s at least, he has already shown that he is very capable of playing at the highest level. It isn’t in just one country, it isn’t just one knock, he has already proven himself across all T20 leagues.
“Unbelievable batting here, unbelievable stroke-play,” uttered the commentators as Brevis cleared the rope yet again, to get to 88, within touching distance of scoring the fastest T20 hundred. Has he ever played better than this, was a good question from the commentators. Turns out, he hasn’t.
Eight sixes, 94 off 30, mercilessly trolling with the opposition, Brevis had already moved on from being the Baby AB, the world had already started taking notice of the Dewald. Like all great innings, Brevis was dropped. On any other day, he would walk back to the hut, smacking himself on the head, saying, “You missed a chance.”
But Monday wasn’t that day, it was the day when he did bring up his hundred, the fastest ever one in CSA T20 challenge, off just 35 balls. Hold your horse, it was also the fifth fastest of all-time in T20 history. The records don’t end there, he was the youngest to bring up a three-figure mark.
The hallmark of his knock wasn’t the runs, I mean imagine having scored 162 runs. It was about audacity. It is that audacity that is going to take him to further heights. It is the ability to score a 150, rub it in the opponent’s face, by scoring 26 boundaries, and making a mockery out of the opposition.
Not getting the strike towards the end halted his innings and his momentum but on any other day, he could have well gone past Gayle’s record of 175. While the comparison is definitely there, think about this, Gayle’s record score came after he had played 15 years of cricket. For Brevis, it came when he was just 19 years old. 162 off 57, the joint third-highest score in T20 history.
"This (national cap) is a next stepping stone. I believe that the people in control they know the best. Everything works out as it should. This is where I have to be. I have to do this. This is part of my journey. I am at the right place where I need to be. We never know what happens," he added.
It can’t get wilder than this, can it? What Brevis has shown here is that he belongs at the highest level. If not now, he should be playing for South Africa in the near future. If not, the system definitely has failed him.
Brevis isn’t Baby AB anymore, he is already standing out on his own as Dewald ‘Monster’ Brevis.