AB de Villiers: Still in the hunt

New Montblanc ambassador and Proteas stalwart AB de Villiers is targeting an elusive victory in the 2019 Cricket World Cup

Global cricketing superstar AB de Villiers has been at the forefront of the Gentlemen’s Game since making his debut in 2004. His exhilarating style of batting and swashbuckling attitude have made him a firm favourite with fans the world over. De Villiers has now added the position of Montblanc ambassador to his glittering CV. We spoke to him about this role, fashion and the sport he loves.

1. Tell us about your role as Montblanc ambassador and what it means to you.

I’m proud to be associated with Montblanc, it’s a maison with many of the values that I believe in. It has strong heritage, and it prides itself on craftsmanship, quality and design.

It’s also contemporary and innovative, and that makes it very exciting for me.

2. What is your involvement with Montblanc’s limited-edition pieces?

I was fortunate to co-design a special-edition men’s bracelet in celebration of my association with Montblanc earlier this year. Crafted in woven red leather and limited to just 131 pieces, the bracelets were only available in India – my second home, of course, where I play in the Indian Premier League every year.

3. Faf du Plessis has a reputation for being the fashionista in the Proteas squad. How would you describe your personal style?

Ha! Fashionista is one title I’m happy to let Faf have. I’m a pretty casual guy. If I’m not in sporting gear, you’ll usually find me in jeans and a T-shirt. But I do love a nice watch – I think that’s something people will always notice when you shake hands. I’ve been fortunate to be wearing Montblanc’s TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic now – a beautiful, sporty piece that goes from day to night easily.

4. You played a number of sports growing up. What attracted you to cricket and led you to pursue a career in the sport?

I enjoy most sports and played a lot of tennis and rugby growing up, as well as a bit of golf, and even hockey for a while. I think I naturally gravitate towards team sports and their camaraderie. Cricket has been one of the most important things in my life since I was young. I remember watching Jonty Rhodes’ famous run-out against Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup and was being immediately hooked.

5. What have been the biggest highlight and disappointment of your career?

Without a doubt, representing my country has been the highlight. The disappointment has been the fact that South Africa has yet to win one of the major ICC limited overs championships, but we hope to address that issue at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

READ MORE: AB The Great

6. What’s it like competing in the domestic T20 competition again in a high-powered Titans outfit?

It’s been fun. We have a great blend of proven, experienced players and talented youngsters, and coach Mark Boucher has done a fantastic job.

7. The Proteas beat Zimbabwe in a day-night Test in December. What do you make of day-nighters in the long format?

It’s new and different, and any measure that brings the crowds back to Test cricket is certainly worth trying. It may work when the weather is warm.

8. How has new coach Ottis Gibson influenced the Proteas?

Ottis has had a great impact on the national team. He knows the game very well, and he’s worked really hard to get to know the players and staff. He’s made a great start and I’m confident he will prove to be a great success.

9. What do you still want to accomplish in your career?

All I have ever wanted to do is to realise my potential and bring enjoyment to people watching the game in South Africa and around the world. I hope to continue doing exactly that for as long as possible.

10. Do you have any success tips for our readers?

In my mind, the key is to enjoy what you do and, as far as possible, to do what you enjoy. This leads to an upward cycle and sustained happiness.