Reading biographies of great leaders and accomplished people is something I really enjoy doing! Recently, I picked this book titled AB. Yes, you got it right! It’s the biography of AB De Villiers, an amazing South African cricketer. He is revered as one of the finest batsmen of our times. He has played marvellously in almost every format of the Gentleman’s Game – be it One-day, T20, or even Test cricket!
The book speaks about challenges, scores, records and other stats, but the most interesting part for me was to learn about AB’s personality. The personal challenges he faced, how he got into cricket, who all supported him, how he managed to face criticism, how he managed his life off the field, and many such wonderful snippets of his life make this book a very interesting read!
AB was been a team player throughout his career. There are various examples in this book that reflect upon this aspect –
In early days of cricket, once the batting order was decided, it was usually never changed. But with the passage of time, the game evolved and became more and more demanding! The batting order started to change depending on the format of the game, style of the game. But AB was ready for everything! He was happy to oblige as per the batting order.
“You are not going next. You will go to create at 5th number. This is what the game demands” – the coach said. “Okay!” – said AB.
Being flexible reflects how much you care for your team, so one should always be ready to change your spot to put your team in a win-win situation!
AB saw lots of ups and downs in his cricketing career. On one side was the pressure of winning matches, the team used to perform well in a few matches but then they underperformed in others. As a player, as a captain, he always used to take the responsibility of losing matches. Facing the media after a loss was notso easy. But he has faced a lot of situations like this. He holds himself accountable to himself in every match, in field, batting, every format. That’s what makes him an awesome team player
Any successful and closed bonded team needs a special thread that holds them together. That thread is the thread of positivity. What further can strengthen this feeling of positivity is a motto, tagline, or theme song that brings the team together and holds you stronger in tough times.
The South Africa National cricket team also known as Proteas represent South Africa in Men’s International Cricket. #ProteaFire is a song that holds the whole South African team stronger. The lyrics talk about the individual qualities of each player.
Derived from the famous flower Protea, the song reflects the uniqueness and resilience of the South African team. Many people don’t know that the Protea flower can not just survive but thrives on ravaging veld-fires (wild-fires.) The heat and intensity of fire is needed to sustain their very species. It produces new growth after a fire and grows back stronger. It is similar to a team facing tough times in games and coming out stronger than ever!
Being committed to a cause is never easy. It requires a number of personal sacrifices. The players need to give up many things. Many days, months & years, they are required to travel constantly. AB was playing back to back matches and series in different continents. He once played 99 test matches in a row!
He missed celebrating moments like birthdays, anniversaries, and sometimes even Christmas. It was his commitment to the game that kept him going!
Never Run For Your Own Records
The team players never think or give priorities to their individual records. They keep the team’s performance ahead of everything else. AB also came across similar situations many times. Despite being close to scoring a hundred runs, he never risked the team’s chances by taking unnecessary risks like taking a tight single or trying to play some innovative short. He just went with the flow. Another beautiful quality about AB is the way he managed to maintain a healthy balance between family and work. After playing 99 tests in a row, he had the chance to create a new record – South African batsman playing 100 test matches in a row! But it was his son’s first day and he opted to stay with his family, not giving a second thought to the record he’d be missing.
His innumerable qualities and his love for the game make him a true inspiration!