Dear Abraham Benjamin De Villiers,
I have been wanting to write this open letter to you for quite some time now. Keeping all the excuses aside, this quarantine lockdown has finally given me ample amounts of time to finally let words flow through these hands of mine. Yes, I have been wanting to do this for quite a while now. Especially after I had finished with reading your autobiography titled ” AB De Villiers – The Autobiography. I don’t know from where this thought of an open letter came from, but I knew it was something I wanted to do. And finally, here am I!
From The Beginning
I’ve started watching cricket from a very young age. When I started watching it, I don’t think you had made your international debut for another couple of years. Even after your international debut in December 2004, and for most parts of the next four years, I did not really know who AB De Villiers actually was! By 2008, your name was already on the lips of many and I did hear people calling you the next big thing in South African cricket.
Unlike now, in my younger days, I solely watched and cared about the matches played by India. And I don’t think South Africa played India much during the span of those few years. But once the IPL came into existence in 2008, I heard people talking about you. Also, that you would be playing for the Delhi Daredevils.
It was not until IPL 2, which incidentally was held in South Africa, that I turned into one of your many fans. That 105* off just 54 balls against CSK was literally the day AB De Villiers became a household name in India. The flawless hits and the sweet timing was literally the best thing ever. An innings to cherish.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
By the time the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 took center stage, here in India, you were already a favourite for many Indians, including me. And as much as I would have loved to watch you play live during the IPL games, I never really got the chance to. But on 15th March, 2011 I was finally going to watch you play live. That too in an International match, and that too at the biggest stage. South Africa vs Ireland it was, and although the game did not have much significance, to me it was huge.
By the time I had reached the iconic Eden Gardens Stadium, the toss had already been done. I quickly opened the Cricbuzz app to check the playing XI’s and which team had won the toss. To my utter disappointment, the name “De Villiers” wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I looked again. Nah, not there. While reading the commentary and both the captain’s speeches, I learned that you were left out of the team for the game due to a side strain or something. I was disappointed. Really very disappointed.
Before the toss, I had these weird thoughts that you’d be batting beautifully and hit many sixes. And at least one of those sixes would land right near me. But it wasn’t to be. Perhaps, it wasn’t meant to be. Although, I was gutted, a Duminy 99 and a facile 131-run win by South Africa did ease the pain to an extent. But it got me thinking; will I ever get to see or meet my favourite cricketer?
Lastly, I would like to say that you, AB De Villiers, have entertained us all throughout the many years. Both in International cricket and in T20 Leagues across the world. I may not be one of those die-hard fans, but I really appreciate what you have done for cricket. You are truly a living legend! And I and many out there, count ourselves lucky to have witnessed you entertain us.
I’d like to end by saying that even if I have never watched to play live yet, and yes, it still remains my dream to meet you one day. These are probably farfetched, but I am a hopeful human being. I will keep hoping that some day, even if I don’t get to watch you bat live that I get to stand beside you, smile, jump in excitement from within, and click the most amazing picture with you.
AB De Villiers, you will always be my favourite sportsperson ever. You are the best. You are loved by all.
P.S: I really hope this open letter reaches you. It would mean the world to me.
Written from the heart by Ronald. (: