May 17, 2014

South Africa cricket

'I've never practised the fine-leg scoop in my life'

Having been in the international game for ten years, AB de Villiers tells Shirin Sadikot of about his making as a batsman, his insecurities in his early years as a Test batsman, the importance of being mentally prepared before a match not obsesses over net practice, learning to cope with pressure and the revelation that he never practices his audacious T20 shots in the nets.

All of a sudden, I am playing for the Proteas, then suddenly I have this big IPL contract where the pressures are of a different kind; there are these huge crowds cheering for you and expecting you to do well every time. I enjoy those moments because I visualised myself in these situations from a very young age. I used to hit a lot of tennis balls against the wall, just playing by myself and imagined I was playing a Wimbledon game. I could feel the crowd cheering for me, could hear the noise and I created that pressure inside my head. I talked to myself while hitting the balls, almost giving running commentary. It was more like day-dreaming than serious visualisation. But I think doing those sorts of things and expecting pressure at a very young age meant that I was prepared when I was actually faced with these moments.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.