The popular saying nowadays is that you can take your heart out of AB De Villiers but cannot take AB De Villiers out from your heart. And we cannot disagree with the notion! For here is a cricketer who is so affectionate and gentle despite garnering worldwide fame. In a game where he has come to personify both roles, that of a tireless marathon runner and a humble soldier of South African Cricket, AB commands respect and legions of fans off course. And even as he has competed at the highest level for over a decade, it seems he is yet to reach his peak, for such ever burgeoning are his outstanding achievements. He has blazed a peak that many are proud to follow and even as he appears charismatic on the cricket field, he is ever so humble off it! It always seems the next epic AB achievement is right around the corner and boom, it strikes you like a force of unparalleled energy.
In its surge to present you with inspiring stories, Trend Mantra believes it just found a new one, courtesy AB De Villiers’ life story, as conveyed effervescently in his autobiography that released last week in India to a roaring reception.
A book that left us pumped up and cheerful, we present you some fascinating insights from De Villiers’ page turning account of his incredible life
1) When an idol marks respect to a man for whom he is an idol
De Villiers’ autobiography begins with a touching foreword by none other than Jonty Rhodes, AB’s own childhood hero. Rhodes confesses with a purity and simplicity that there have only been few international cricketers who have commanded massive following way beyond their own hometowns and AB is that rare achiever. Rhodes’ retelling of Bangalore crowds chanting ‘AB-AB-AB’ in euphoria speaks of De Villiers’ incredible popularity well beyond South Africa. Rhodes humbly confesses that South Africa is proud to have a great son in AB, which is not just believable but humbling for Rhodes himself belongs in that checkered league of talents.
2) AB gives a flashback to his life
Growing up in a modest but cheery Pretoria neighborhood, AB shares with brutal honesty about how he was inspired to pick up rugby and cricket by elder brothers- Jan and Wessels. From excelling at back-yard cricket to getting his first feeler about the game at Warmbaths Primary School, where field B is named after him today, De Villiers revisits his early days with childlike enthusiasm. His bonding with brothers who coaxed him to do better, who encouraged him to instill complete cricketing skills in his repertoire and how even a childhood mate, Jarre, who went ahead to play for Proteas would push him to excel is the result of where he has reached.
3) Selecting the famous ‘World Eleven’ as a kid
If there’s one thing that you as the cricket hungry reader take from this book apart from AB’s scintillating rise to glory is the realization that cricket isn’t solely ‘worshiped’ in India. That the South Africans are as passionate about the sport as a farmer is for monsoons is narrated with sterling simplicity. With his school-mates, De Villers would often elect a famous Dream Team and most of his picks would be Adam Gilchrist, Kallis, Jonty Rhodes and Matt Hayden, interestingly all of them being quite similar to AB’s own down to earth personality.
4) Overjoyed by his first ever glimpse of a live cricket match
It was back in 1995, a time when the likes of Lara and Sachin had already become household names when a tad bit shy but supremely confident De Villiers was taken to see a live cricket match by his dad. De Villiers narrates with unbridled enthusiasm the high of seeing Shaun Pollock debut in the test where he was a fan-boy in the crowd.
5) Hurling at challenges
Turning the pages of his life story as swiftly as a boatman sifts past daunting high tides, De Villiers in his tell-all account dwells on matters that confronted him at an emotional level, not just the cricket pitch. He shares with feverish pitch about how he wasn’t quite satisfied having made it to the national team in 2005. And how in 2007, right before playing a triangular series featuring an India led by Dravid (quite a similar character as AB, although minus flamboyance) and Ireland, De Villiers wasn’t quite sure of himself. Lackluster form prior to the start of the series and having to make his mark constantly in a side that featured greats like Kallis and Graeme Smith was intimidating. And in here lies De Villiers’ greatness. He doesn’t speak of these challenges as being insurmountable problems, rather sees them as peaks that he relished conquering. De Villiers lauds Kallis, whom he affectionately calls ‘Oupa’ for encouraging him to follow his instincts and doing the right thing for South Africa and regards the support he got from Boucher with whom he would hold extensive discussions about the craft of batting, keeping and the common love they shared for the cover drive.
6) Inspired by India for its A-B-D! A-B-D!
For most readers in the subcontinent, Chapter 12 of AB’s tale would be a keenly read account. De Villiers shares that how constant chanting of his name in cricket stadiums electrified the atmosphere of the competition, amplifying with encouragement the need to put a stellar show. He confesses that the warm reception he’s received over the years in India has humbled him and made him perform better. He recounts in stellar detail a memorable RCB win over Deccan Chargers in 2012 where needing 182 to win, how he along with Syed Mohammad trumpeted the Bangalore based outfit home, belting fours and sixes at will. AB recollects that with the winning runs came a flashing on the screen, “this happens only in movies” and the feeling of him having made it well into the Bollywood inspired land had sunk in. He lavishes honest praise on the calm and collected leadership of Dhoni and marvels at playing alongside Kohli who he regards a fantastic batsman while Kohli’s book of respect is effusive in its praise of South Africa’s ‘Superman’.
7) A pride to represent South Africa
The love for representing South Africa at the highest level has been a feeling AB cannot contain in words. He still tries to do his earnest bit, calling it the highest privilege that life has afforded him. His passion and deep commitment to excelling South Africa’s remarkable reputation and improving its performance all the time is his mission. His recount of his bond with the Protean set up is like a Great War veteran speaking loyally about his earnest contributions to his nation’s upkeep and is akin to an emerald you’d consume willingly knowing this is food for soul! Furthermore and finally, a lasting reminder of what makes the incredible AB an all time great is his honest unpolluted confession that he has failed to understand what makes a Hindu, Christian or Muslim and that for him, its only one South Africa.
We only wish that the world were as blind as AB in its colored judgment and racial assassination of the planet. While AB- a golf-swinger, a swashbuckling six-hitting machine, the master commander of South Africa’s exploits and the in-charge of upholding cricket’s dignity in the world is on his way to winning this glorious mission, we join in the euphoria of cheering him on. A-B-A-B….. A-B-A-B!
You can purchase the book at a limited time discounted price by clicking below