'The minute I started writing -- I am a bit of romantic -- so every girl that I loved at school I would write a letter but the problem with that was that I was too scared to give it to them.'
South Africa's batting sensation AB de Villiers reveals some interesting facets about his life. Rediff.com's Harish Kotian listens in.
AB de Villiers is one of the most menacing batsmen when out in the middle, but he is a total softie when it comes to matters of the heart.
The South African batting great revealed how he would pen love letters for girls in his school but never actually find the courage to hand it over to them.
"I have a few memories of writing back in the day when I was growing up, when I was in school and learnt to write. The minute I started writing -- I am a bit of romantic -- so every girl that I loved at school I would write a letter but the problem with that was that I was too scared to give it to them. I would go back home with the letter, with a lot of love in there, and would climb to the roof of our house and I would hide the letter there. So they ended up being around 25-30 letters by the end of my school career. All of them I was scared to give it to the girls, and all of them were unread," he said at an event in Mumbai on Tuesday.
In the time of Internet and e-mails, De Villiers took the traditional route, writing a letter to his wife Danielle, who was leaving for South Africa after spending some time with him during the ongoing tenth edition of the Indian Premier League.
"Now that I am a bit older, and have finally got married, I have decided to use all that power to write letters to my wife. Just the other day, when she left from India to go back to South Africa, I slipped a little letter into her passport and I knew that when she got to the airport she would read it. I got a text message from her a day or two later to let me know how much that meant to her. Writing really has the power to change the world.," he added.
De Villiers is one of the most loved foreign players in India; chants of 'AB, AB' have become the norm in stadiums across India when he walks out to bat, even when he is playing against Team India.
The 33-year-old, who has featured in all ten seasons of the IPL, terms playing in the cash-rich Twenty20 extravaganza as a ‘life-changing experience’. He has represented Delhi Daredevils in the first three seasons before switching over to Royal Challengers Bangalore. He has played IPL 127 games, scoring 3453 runs, including two centuries and 22 fifties.
"The last 10 years of the IPL, what I can say, it has been a great ride. It has certainly been life-changing for me. I started my IPL career at Delhi Daredevils for the first three years, which was a very good experience and then moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore, and this is my seventh season with them now. I could not have asked for a better franchise to play IPL for. They are a very professional unit. Unfortunately, this year we haven’t played well as wanted to and I think there are some valuable lessons we have learnt throughout the season," he said.
"Talking about the last 10 years, I think just memories. The memories stand out for me, I have created some great memories over the last 10 years -- the fans, the electric vibes in the grounds we have played, the franchise, the people in and around the team, the people who support us, those of the kind of things that stand out for me in the last 10 years of the IPL. It is just great memories and I am just honoured and privileged to be a part of the IPL," he added.
De Villiers, whose wife is expecting his second child, doesn’t believe that increase in family responsibility will affect his cricketing career.
"I love my child; it is a obviously a huge change in my life when he came around and there is another one on the way, so there are a lot of things changing in my family. I am still very dedicated to what I do for a living, that is play cricket. It is my first love. People can put it like business, but it is not business. I actually love what I do and I have a big passion for cricket, so I will play for as long as I can.
"My next commitment after the IPL is the Champions Trophy, something that South Africa would love to win."