Cricket has always been a kind of passion for millions like me. Needless to say, I would have liked to hone my cricketing skills if I wasn’t passionate about writing. Oh yes, I do hold a couple of dubious records in my gully cricket wherein I faced almost a 100 balls without scoring a single run in my account and losing matches from winning positions. But that’s it! I like to field. That’s what I do while playing box cricket on man-made turfs. Batting has never been my strengths and bowling has been decent on 4 out of 10 ocassions. But yeah! I do like fielding.. just like Jonty Rhodes did and just like ABD and most of the South African cricketers do. Ok. Let me just stop bragging about my cricketing skills (because at 32 I can never imitate like Michael Hussey or Misbah ul Haq) and let’s talk about ABD, the most feared and destructive in the world. On his day, he can take the bowlers to the cleaners and choke the free flowing runs of the opposition through his electrifying fielding.
Plot: ABD considers himself lucky to have his book’s foreword written by none other than his idol Jonty Rhodes. The book starts with the telltale of his epic innings of 149 runs in mere 44 balls against West Indies on 18th January 2015 that included 9 fours and 16 sixes (sounds like God mode on EA Cricket, eh!) He makes it clear that he is a God fearing person and the way Christanity has influenced him in becoming the person he is. He talks about his early life at 20 Mentz Avenue (his residence in Warmbaths, now known as Bela-Bela) where he played cricket with his elder brothers and their friends, his obsession with Jonty Rhodes cap, his childhood, life at school and university, his confusion of choice between Tennis, Rugby and Cricket. He also clarifies related to the wrong article once published on Sky Sports website related to his allrounder capabilities in every sport played in South Africa. ABD talks about his life at Affies (his high school) alongwith punishments and suspensions for mischiefs, friendship with Faf du Plessis, representing in rugby, first class cricketing experience and the early club matches in his career.
ABD talks about his close relationship with his former cricketer teammates Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith, Makhaya Ntini and Mark Boucher. He thanks them throughout the whole book for shaping his career as a cricketer as well as a captain. He reminisces the tours he made in his span of career right from his international debut till the 9th edition of Indian Premier League in 2016. He also talks about the wins and losses during that timespan and his experiences of leading South African cricket team in all the three formats.
ABD talks about the key to be successful in life – REPS. Recognise the thin line between success and failure. Enhance key relationships. Prepare for life after cricket. Stay close to the cross. He throws light on his personal life by talking about his wife Danielle and son AB Jr. A recurring dream where he watches himself runout the last opponent batsman and winning the world cup for his country. He expresses the disappointment and the regret of failing to win even a single ICC limited overs trophy. His inhibitions regarding the sports quota system in his country, his love for music, his meet with Nelson Mandela, the origin of idea behind The Proteas and of course his love and respect for India.
My Take: ABD is a respected cricketer from South Africa. This book reflects more of his journey of his cricketing career with rare glimpse of his personal life. The book is about the matches played by him and his mindset during those games. More or less, this book reflects the human side of the most invincible player in the history of modern day cricket.
Peace, Poetry and Power.
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