Dubai: Australia's three-time World Cup winner Adam Gilchrist has heaped praise on South Africa captain AB de Villiers, describing him as the "most valuable cricketer on the planet".
"De Villiers is the most valuable cricketer on the planet. His versatility is extraordinary and he is amazing to watch," said Gilchrist, who is sixth in the list of leading run-getters in the history of World Cup and with 52 dismissals is the most successful wicketkeeper.
"He's so inventive ... He can play a touch game or a power game. Then, he can also keep wickets. He's also one of the best fielders in the world and recently has taken some wickets when he had a bowl. And he leads his team very well, so, I think he's the most valuable cricketer around."
De Villiers will feature in his third Cricket World Cup. In 175 ODIs, the 30-year-old has scored 7,210 runs with 18 centuries and 42 half-centuries. He has captained South Africa in 56 ODIs, winning 31 matches. Behind the stumps, he has accounted for 88 batsmen.
Closer to home, Gilchrist also tipped Australia's Mitchell Marsh to make a big impact in the tournament alongside David Warner, while he believed that India's MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli would have a big say in the destination of the prestigious trophy.
Australia and New Zealand will host the quadrennial event for the first time in 23 years.
Sharing his excitement about the event to be held from February 14 to March 29, Gilchrist said: "I think next month's tournament is going to be really exciting. Conditions, particularly in Australia, are going to be conducive to high scores, entertaining cricket and flamboyant play.
"In New Zealand, there are more result-based wickets on offer, as there's normally a bit in them for the bowlers. The batsmen might struggle a bit more over there but I think we're going to see an exciting and a close tournament."
The ICC Cricket Hall of Famer also reflected on World Cup 1999, 2003 and 2007, which Australia won in three different conditions and against three different oppositions.