Remember the miserly fast bowler who once whipped out a red card to show his displeasure at being booed by a Lord's crowd? Fanie de Villiers was a tough customer, giving nothing away with his nagging seam bowling, and made batsmen work extremely hard for runs. But the 44-year-old has a soft side to him.
While a hydraulics business and television commentary keep him busy, de Villiers ensures that he finds time for a charity that helps children who are hearing impaired. “I have a daughter who was born deaf and she made me more involved in charity,” de Villiers told HT. “People with deaf children phone me for advice. I have a charity dinner this weekend which should raise at least 10,000 rand. It gives satisfaction when you get involved in charities like this,” said De Villiers, who believes that all cricketers should use their profile for similar work.
De Villiers, whose brother is also hearing impaired, feared that the problem may be genetic. “I have two other children and fortunately they are fine.”
In order to raise awareness and much-needed funds de Villiers once cycled 1313 kilometres from Cape Town to Pretoria, and charities received 800,000 rand for his effort. Another time he climbed a light tower at his home ground, Centurion, raising 189,000 rand in the process.
These days, de Villiers commentates in Afrikaans for the Supersport channel.