It took some persuasion to convince AB de Villiers’ parents to address the media. Mother Millie was sporting but father Abraham was reluctant, yet they didn’t disappoint. They knew what it meant to mark their son’s 100th Test.
In a striking similarity to the medieval times where generations were named with a sequential 1, 2, 3, and so forth, the de Villiers showed up to celebrate the most famous of their clan.
In a family where all three generations are named Abraham Benjamin de Villiers, it sure becomes hard. The best way to stave off the situation is to call de Villiers Sr as AB de Villiers 1, the player as AB de Villiers 2 and his newborn son as AB de Villiers 3.
It was coincidence that all three were present at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday. While AB de Villiers 2 was blasting away, AB de Villiers 1 was excited and AB de Villiers 3 too small to understand what was going on.
Father Abraham said with some regret that AB didn’t go on to become a doctor. The mother said she saw him more as a tennis player and golfer before the son found his calling in cricket.
“He brings in lot of his mates home, they play games all over the place, he was always playing,” she said gleefully. Is he the nice guy he’s made out to be? The mother didn’t quite agree but insisted he was always disciplined.
De Villiers Senior recalled the not-so-calm approach whenever his son tees off, something he hasn’t seen on the cricket ground.
He noticed early signs of brilliance but not while playing cricket. “When he was growing up, I noticed a couple of things, not while playing cricket but other sports. That’s when I felt he had something special,” he said.
De Villiers Senior had hoped many times that former world No 1 Ernie Els would see his son playing golf. But destiny brought him to the cricket field.
They were disappointed to see him miss out on a hundred, but the chants of ‘AB, AB’ made up for the disappointment. After all, he was playing the landmark Test in what they call his ‘second home.’