He is one of the modern legends of the game, acclaimed and loved world over and considered among the all-time greats of cricket.
But all the adulation and monikers sit lightly on A.B. de Villiers, who insists he is at peace despite being part of some of the best South African sides ever to not win the World Cup.
And with the 2019 edition beginning next month, ABD — as he is known — is looking forward to watching the games with no desire to be in the middle. “I look back at my decision (to retire) last year with 100 percent satisfaction.
“It would have been nice to play the World Cup again but I am very happy where I am at the moment. There is no regret,” de Villiers said in an exclusive interaction with The Hindu here on Saturday.
So who would be his picks this time around? De Villiers was unwilling to put his money on any particular team or player. “It is very difficult to pick a favourite, I think there are a lot of teams capable and that makes it a very open tournament. India have won the Champions Trophy in England, Pakistan won the last one there and Australia have won a lot of World Cups. England are their own team, New Zealand always do well at World Cups, South Africa have a very good bowling attack — that’s six teams already that I feel can win!
“I am simply looking forward to watching some amazing games through the tournament,” he laughed during the launch of a limited edition, ABD-signed Mont Blanc luggage trolley that would be auctioned for charity.
Nicknamed the ‘360 degree’ man for his ability to play a wide range of shots played all around the cricket ground, it is not something De Villiers is bothered too much about.
“To be honest, I didn’t try to get that name when I started playing cricket.
Method in madness
“What I think is there is a method in madness and you have got to adapt to different situations, both in life and cricket. “All the different shots I play are all about survival in the game. I think that’s where the 360-degree thing comes from,” he said.
And while he may be technically perfect when playing copy-book shots — though he objected to the ‘being perfect’ part — his favourite shot happens to be the lap shot, or the scoop over the shoulder.
“It is pretty unique, you’ve got to be gutsy to do that, sort of put your body on the line.
“But that’s how I have always played the game, so I enjoy that,” he revealed.