AB: The Amazing AB de Villiers Autobiography

Last Sunday, a friend gifted me a copy of AB de Villier’s autobiography “AB” for my birthday. I have only managed to read three chapters but two things have already blown my mind.

  1. AB has spoken with God. Not once, but twice.
  2. AB has clarified claims about him being the greatest sportsman ever.

Let us take the second mind-blowing revelation first.

Here is a screenshot of the Sky Sports article on AB De Villiers which appeared on 28 February 2015. I have set out below AB’s clarifications from Chapter 3 of his book against each of these claims.

abdv-sky-sports-article

 

“Collaborated with South African singer-songwriter Ampie du Preez on the song Make Your Dreams Come True which has 138,290 hits on YouTube. We’ll let you be the judge.” COULD NOT VERIFY ON YOUTUBE but AB’s rendition of “Yeh Dosti” on YouTube has 843,526 views as of 19 October 2016. Go check it out.

“De Villiers was shortlisted for South African national hockey and football squads.” FALSE. ABdV has never played beyond school level at hockey and has only ever played football (soccer) at cricket warm-ups!

“He was the captain of South Africa junior rugby.” FALSE. ABdV played rugby at school level but not at national level, nor was he captain!

“Is still the holder of six national school swimming records.” FALSE. ABdV claims that broke his school’s under-9 breakstroke record, but no national records. Read More …

1 Tip 1 Hand meets Nasser Hussain!

The Royal London One-Day Cup Final takes place at Lords on Saturday, the 17th of September. Eighteen teams have been jousting since June and the last teams standing are Warwickshire and Surrey. Warwickshire were runners-up in 2014 and Surrey came second in 2015. With this bound to be the last game of cricket for both these teams before winter sets in, the sides (featuring international players Sangakarra and Ian Bell) will be itching to get their hands on the trophy – something we have already done!

The Royal London One-Day Cup

The Royal London One-Day Cup

Allow us to explain. To celebrate the return of the Royal London One-Day Cup final at Lords, we were invited by the ECB to take part in an exclusive event at Lords last Thursday – a brief report follows of a truly special evening!

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Sachin Tendulkar: How one man changed cricket

The other day my cricket team was discussing whether there was any one person who had definitively influenced the game of cricket. If you have ever met me or have read this blog, you already know my answer. It was Sachin Tendulkar. Why, they asked? “Sachin Tendulkar made cricket what it is today”, I answered.

The answer got me thinking. Sachin Tendulkar was a fantastic batsman but did he really change cricket? Or was I simply being a nostalgic fan boy? Were there others who influenced it more? W.G. Grace? Bradman? Jardine? Sobers? Lillee? Thomson? Imran Khan? Kerry Packer perhaps?

Now, there is plenty of literature on how Sachin’s meteroic rise coincided with India’s economic resurgence. Shashi Tharoor has written about the “Age of Tendulkar” in Wisden. Ed Smith (who, incidentally, got himself out to me last year for 75 to give me my first and only international calibre wicket) has written about “The Indian Master who symbolised the country’s rise”.

But did Tendulkar change cricket? I think he did. Not in terms of changing the game itself (Tendulkar was relatively orthodox). But the advent of Tendulkar changed how the game within the game was played.

Early 90s – India begins to believe

While India may have won the 1983 World Cup, cricket was still competing with field hockey for primacy in the 1980s. There was also a divide between Indian cricket fans. Much like the street-fighter Javed Miandad and the Oxford-educated Imran Khan divided Pakistanis, the loyalty of Indian fan was owed either to the stoic, dependable Gavasakar or the unpredictably brilliant Haryana hurricane, Kapil Dev.

All that changed with the arrival of the fresh-faced Sachin Tendulkar.

Indian fans were united in their admiration for Tendulkar. He was soft-spoken and middle-class. He could attack like Dev and could defend like Gavaskar. He had his nose smashed in by the Pakistani quicks on his first tour but stood up and carried on. He scored a hundred at the WACA, the quickest pitch in the world. His first test hundred was in England. He was the first overseas player to play for Yorkshire.

Sachin Tendulkar was suddenly India’s largest publicly held entity and every Indian was a shareholder.

Everyone wanted a piece of him and until Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman arrived, he was Indian cricket’s sole superstar.
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5 reasons why Anil Kumble is the right coach for Team India

While Brexit votes are still being cast, the more important result has already been declared today – Anil Kumble is the Indian team’s new head coach for the next one year beating the likes of Ravi Shastri, Stuart Law, Sandeep Patil, Pravin Amre, Tom Moody and 53 other applicants. Given that the cricket advisory committee that picked him consisted of his old buddies Sachin, VVS Laxman and Ganguly, there was little doubt that Kumble would be the front-runner for the job, despite not meeting the BCCI’s initial selection criteria in full as he had not coached at the international or first class level.

In any event, here are five reasons why we think Anil Kumble is the right man for the job. Read More …

Sachin (a billion dreams): Official teaser for the film

If you grew up in the 90s like I did, the game of cricket was synonymous with one name – Sachin Tendulkar. He stood for all that was good with the world. Failed your exams? Never mind, Sachin scored a hundred! Girlfriend dumped you? Koi  nahin, Sachin maar raha hai yaar! Lost your job? Look at Sachin’s straight drive man! I read his autobiography “Playing it my way” which came out in 2014 and was a little bit disappointed. The book was too safe – it didn’t really give us an insight into the man behind the cricketer. But now the teaser for Sachin, the film, is out and I am hoping it will reveal more. I watched the official teaser  and the ‘Sachin, Sachin’ chant in the background gave me goosebumps!

With his retirement in November 2013 from all cricket, a little part of us retired with him. The part that represented our childhood, growing up in middle class India watching Doordarshan. The part that had to drink Boost, which was the secret of his energy. The part that wanted a Visa card, because he told us to go get it. The part that told us that we were good enough to take on the rest of the world and win.  Read More …