Facts first. There are good cricketers. There are great cricketers. Then there are icons. And then there are superstars; performers whether with bat or ball who seem even illustrious to be caged in any hall-of-fame decoration. It’s like the pyramid when seen from south treading up north. And the top can accommodate only a few. The rarest among rare.
Put Sir Don there. There’s Sachin there. Sir Sobers surely and definitely Wasim Akram. Maybe Lara and Warne too.
And without a trace of doubt a gentleman by the name of AB de Villiers.
But truth certainly is, even if AB de Villiers- say hypothetically- were to get out for a duck in his next five innings, no love would be lost for a champion of the game.
That’s the adoration he commands. He’s done magical things in the game. To sync in every great thing he’s done in the sport requires quite an effort.
He’s been the ICC player of the year in ODI cricket thrice in his career. The only other man to have done it is Virat Kohli.
AB smashed an ODI fifty in just 16 deliveries. He smashed a 31-ball-century versus the llWest Indies. Both these feats are world cricket’s fastest 50 and 100, respectively.
Long before Rohit Sharma became the Hitman for his exploits, AB was firing cannons and missiles all along.
Though truth also is, it’s about time we put our uncontrollable love for AB de Villiers in the drawer and locked it, only so more hurt won’t come to us all.
Cricket, you see, operates at the same level of a romantic relationship. It’s hard to move on when you break up.
There’s always a stickiness to human relationships. It’s lovely to hold hands but breaks one emotionally when the parting happens.
Frankly, AB de Villiers, on his part, with the constant updates that chirp all the time about his comeback, needs to know a thing clearly.
Fans can’t be taken for granted. They’re a parallel to the game. Not smaller than it. At the same time, no player is bigger than the game.
No one. Not even Sir Don, not Gary Sobers, not even WG Grace. Sachin too, with all due respect.
A week back, the biggest piece of news in the cricketing world was that AB de Villiers would be a part of the team’s squad to the West Indies, the series due to begin early June.
Not that AB confirmed or denied it.
Like a classic Mossad operation that carries every inch of the famous spy agency’s motto- we deny nothing, we agree to nothing, there was stiff silence and the thrill lay in the ‘what-might.’
And look where we are a few days after the piece of news that might have increased the oxygen levels of countless fans in these desperate COVID-riddled times.
It’s a confirmed piece of news that AB de Villiers is not going to mark an international comeback.
But apparently, fact also is, he is said to have had discussions with Mark Boucher regarding the possibility to come back. This fuelled expectations. This led to a happy surge in our pulse rate.
And now, the same old drudgery of having to deal with something like a terrible loss.
Why’re you doing this AB?
Probably, in some parts of the world, there are countless tissue boxes that have already been put to excess usage. But then probably, there are also some who, tired of the cat and mouse suspense whether AB de Villiers will return/ will return not, have given up and aren’t even that reactive.
Being the superstar dasher he is, he might be among the most Tweeted people at this time, but does any of that matter?
What perhaps does is the the Protea fan, who truly clings to the edge of the seat under every possible circumstance, never abandoning South Africa whether they win or lose, deserves renewed focus on players who can bring the difference.
Therefore, quite like focusing on the past, no matter how glorious it may have been, sense lays in observing a future that’s enticing.
Forget not the hot form Chris Morris has been in. Forget not that a David Miller- still young at 31, with a T20I strike rate of about 140- is bold and there.
Do not ignore the fact that de Kock- 1300 plus T20I runs, strike rate of 136- will bounce back to form.
Moreover, there’s Pehlukwayo, Malan, Rassie, Pretorias and Bavuma.
This exciting quintuplet can create new magic, one that can colour the Proteas flag in vivacious streaks of glory, if it goes out facing the upcoming World Cup akin to a war-like situation.
Someone needs to fire them up. South Africa are like that sleeping giant that must lay awake only so it can truly realise its focus.
And at the moment, the man who can spur them to great heights is the collective of youth and its exuberance. Certainly not Abraham Benjamin de Villiers.