South Africa icon, AB de Villiers, “My advice would be just to keep it simple and enjoy every second”

Cross The Line had the pleasure of speaking to South Africa cricket sensation, AB de Villiers on his illustrious cricket career and grounded faith in Jesus Christ.

So AB who was your sporting role model as you were growing up? 

I think for me, it would have to be Ernie Els.

Could you tell us a bit of your testimony and how you came to know God? 

I grew up in a religious family. God has always been the most important thing in my life. I experienced a few close moments with Him, one where I was lying in the back of our car heading back home from a day out with family friends, I was about 11-years-old and I just felt a very close connection with Him. Almost like He was trying to tell me to appreciate the things I have in my life, family, friends, good health, a talent for sports and so forth. It felt so intense that it drove me to tears. I just knew it was Him urging me on to stay humble and to keep my eyes on Him for leadership.

Then again in 2012, in Australia. We were out in the deep sea. After about 6-8 hours of getting seasick and just lying at the top deck of the boat, the same thing happened. I felt small and He connected with me again. Once again urging me on to appreciate the little things in life, my parents, close family and friends. Once again telling me not to take my eyes off of Him. It was such a humbling feeling that once again it drove me to tears.

Does a particular hundred you’ve made stand out in your eyes as being really special? 

Not really. I obviously enjoyed a few more than others, but the most memorable knocks are when I lead the team to victory, no matter the amount of runs I scored.

Do you see playing cricket as a form of worship to God? 

Absolutely. He is always in my mind when I play.

I don’t see performance like that, but there is no doubt in my mind that He wants me to follow my passion, and in that way let His light be seen by whoever appreciates my skill on the field.

Who is the toughest opponent you’ve faced on the field and why? 

I’ve always said Andrew Flintoff is one of the toughest.

He just played the game the right way. Lots of passion, competitiveness and a skill to perform when the heat was on.

How do you personally cope with lean spells with the bat or gloves, is it all about mind-set? 

It’s obviously not nice to struggle, but then again it is part of Cricket, part of sport and part of life. You have ups and downs and I have always connected well with God in those times. Jesus went through a lot of hardship on earth and I see my hardship as an opportunity to relate and stay close to Him.


How proud were you to recently take the SA Test captaincy? You seem to thrive under pressure! 

It’s a huge honour to lead your country. I’ve enjoyed every second so far. It comes with great responsibility, and to me it’s more about the impact I have and the legacy I leave for future Proteas, than to win every game I play.

What’s the secret to being a great fielder? Is it just natural athleticism or something you can learn? 

I think it’s to have the will to have an impact in a game. I am hungry to make a difference and I see a ball that comes in my direction as an opportunity to set the standard.

Having Christian team-mates around you while you are away for months touring must be really special? 

It is great to have other Christian team-mates around you. We feed off of each other and connect whenever we can.

You’re now well-seasoned in the IPL for Delhi and RCB, what would you say has been your on-pitch highlight so far? 

Getting to play with fellow international Cricketers has been my highlight.

Do you have a favourite bible verse that encourages you? 

Yes, I love 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ERV), “Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God.”

What’s your favourite ground to play at in the world and why? 

I think for me it has to be Supersport Park, Centurion. It’s my home ground and very close to my heart.

And finally, what advice would you give to young cricketers starting out in the pro game? 

My advice would be just to keep it simple and enjoy every second.

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