Title: AB de Villiers - The Autobiography
Author: AB de Villiers
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
He is South Africa’s Test and ODI captain who initially played for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and now turns out for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He’s been termed the “finest batsman of his generation” by Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli. His name is chanted wherever he plays irrespective of the team he turns up for. He is none other than AB de Villiers, one of the star performers in the cricket world. He made his test debut for South Africa at the age of twenty and was selected for every single test his nation played over the subsequent eleven years. He is renowned as a ferocious T20 and ODI player.
In AB: The Autobiography, Villiers recounts his life since boyhood till now. He delves into the dreams that he saw during that time and how some, if not all, of those dreams came to bear fruit. His is a candid tone as he sets upon the task of reliving his life thus far.
The story starts with what may be considered de Villiers' finest moment as a cricketer, when he broke the record for the fastest hundred in an ODI, against West Indies in January 2015 at the Wanderers. What the audience didn’t know and what he himself confesses in the book is that he was so nervous before the match that he had wished for somebody else to go in his place. When his request was refused, he stumbled down the stairs and made a fool of himself in front of his friends who didn’t give up on the opportunity and had a hearty laugh at his expense. He gained confidence only when he was out in the field, facing the bowler. The rest is history and known to every cricket buff.
What is evident from this fine autobiography is that AB has stayed at the very top for such a long time because he takes nothing for granted. He is hard working and concentrates on his job, all the while being a genuinely modest human being. He lives by a code of honour. He has worked on being disciplined, organized, and professional both on and off the field.
Villiers appreciates how lucky he is to be earning a living by playing cricket for his country. His dedication and determination was the reason how he played a major role in South Africa winning in England and Australia for the first time since readmission, in their unbeaten run on the road that started in 2006 and only ended in 2015, and in their rise to being the No. 1 cricket team.
But the book is not just about the matches he played. It sums up his thoughts on several matters related to the sport itself. He talks of his fear and his expectations. He is quick to lavish praise on his team mates and always full of praise for his opponents. He is realistic though often defensive about certain things. Most importantly, there aren’t any controversial issues that he discusses in his book. His is an uplifting story and deserves to be read over and again.
All in all, the book is a must read for all ABD fans. This autobiography is surprisingly refreshing and utterly absorbing.
About the Author
The statistics tell barely half the story but, so far, AB de Villiers has scored over 14,000 runs in 98 tests for South Africa, more than 8,000 runs in 190 one-day internationals and more than 40,000 runs in his professional career. He is mainly distinguished by the style in which he bats and his humble, determined captaincy of the South African national team in one-day international cricket.
* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in