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An Open Letter To AB de Villiers

Manya Pilani
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
2.21K   //    31 May 2018, 01:57 IST

New Zealand v South Africa - 5th ODI
New Zealand v South Africa - 5th ODI

Dear Abraham Benjamin De Villiers,

I wouldn't have imagined I'll be writing this so soon, especially when I'd seen you deliver an absolute inhuman effort right at the cricket boundary just days before.

Virat Kohli rightly said he had just seen Spiderman. Yes, you are that non-fictional superhero for me, for the teams you played in.

You took that catch when RCB were involved in a must-win encounter against the table toppers, Sunrisers Hyderabad. I can't fathom that we'd be left wanting more of those but never getting them for the rest of our lives.

They say "Variety is the spice of life". Well, it couldn't have been truer than when I watched you bat. You sent that leather ball flying all across the ground.

It was almost like Harry Potter shooting spells with his magic wand to send objects flying. Like I said, you are that superhero that really exists, that left my mouth gaping for words every time he came in to bat.

You have an average of 50+ and a strike rate of 100+ in 228 ODIs. And even that doesn't do justice to your legacy. The 31-ball 100 against the hapless West Indies will serve as an immortal testimony of your batting prowess.

The 44-ball 149 is proof of your maverick. And speaking of maverick, the cheeky paddles, the audacious big hits over the mid-wicket fence, the reverse sweeps, the unnatural, innumerable stunts you've performed in between the 22 yards have left a strong imprint on every cricket fan's mind, just like mine.

AB de Villiers, for you are a superhero and you'll always be.

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ICC World Twenty20 India 2016:  South Africa v England
ICC World Twenty20 India 2016: South Africa v England

Who would have thought I'd take a liking to a "pink"-colored jersey just because it upgraded your powers to level maximum. You've butchered every bowling attack that you've come to face.

But that's not everything there is to AB de Villiers. You've milked the bowlers around when need be. You've been a force to be reckoned with even in Test cricket. You've put your head down and dug in for the Proteas. (Remember that 43 in 297 balls against India in an attempt to draw the game?) And hence, I dare say red ball cricket will equally miss its prodigal batting son just like white ball cricket will.

CRICKET-RSA-ENG-ODI
CRICKET-RSA-ENG-ODI

And I haven't even begun to write about your fielding masterclass. But when I do start, this letter will write itself.

You start where even the word 'athleticism' fails. Are you not the superhero? For I've seen you run faster than The Flash. I've seen you patrol the boundary like a hawk on watch.

Stop defying gravity with those mid-air grabs, AB. Spare the Physics Gods. Nobody would've imagined somebody to emulate Jonty's methods.

But you matched your countryman catch for catch, stop for stop. If Jonty pulled off breathtaking stops at point and in the cover region, I've seen you take stunners in slips and gullies.

You pluck balls out of thin air like a magician pulls out rabbits from hats. Not to forget when you donned the wicketkeeper's gloves, you graced that space behind the stumps with the most energy I've ever seen.

You've zoomed to take the stumps down. A special mention to those run-outs are in order as you bid goodbye to international cricket.

You're worth your weight in gold in the field, AB. If Mr. 360 is used to define your batting, it doesn't even begin to cover what you did in the third dimension of cricket - fielding.

South Africa v West Indies - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup
South Africa v West Indies - 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup

I'll miss everything I've just penned down. But more importantly, I'll miss that charming smile you donned. Who'd say that that cheek in the field belonged to an all-time great?

Your humility will be my inspiration and your spirit will be my incentive to give sweat, blood, and tears into everything I do from now on. People may crib over you not having won a World Cup, but your legacy will remain untainted by that fact.

For AB de Villiers, you've made a special place in my heart, beyond all those number-loaded-scorecards and insane records.

I have to end this by thanking you for choosing cricket over rugby, swimming and tons of other fields you were good in. Thank you for making my favorite sport better. Keep flying, like you always have.

"Some heroes don't wear capes, they wear Green and Gold."


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Manya Pilani
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