Second Innings

Players on their careers and hobbies outside cricket

Fanie de Villiers

Talk a good game

After cricket, South Africa's metronome took up public speaking and got into the hydraulics business

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Fanie De Villiers at a practice session, 1 February 28, 1996
"If you are humble enough about your achievements, it helps you in developing business relationships and helping people grow" © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Fanie de Villiers
Teams: South Africa

I was lucky enough to have been able to join the TV commentary team and a cricket television show while I was playing. So I walked out of cricket straight into another job related to the game. Steadily I started to get invites from the corporate sector as a speaker, for which I was paid handsomely. Over the years I became involved with a company in hydraulics that services the mining industry. Those two are my breadwinners now: the hydraulics firm for the past six years and guest speaker for 11.

I have a teaching diploma too, but I never really got into that profession. Still, my education helped me in dealing with clients, developing relationships, enhancing my communication skills and marketing myself better. I see a lot of youngsters who start playing professional cricket at an early age and do not go to university. They really can't express themselves, and they end up missing out on a lot of opportunities.

Having played cricket has been a big help in my new jobs. If you are humble enough as a person and humble about your achievements, you can play a huge role in helping people grow.

Another advantage is, I can reach the top strata of a company straightaway, just by using my name. I don't need to go through the usual line-up of senior managers and directors. Every single day, every single job I've done, people recognise me easily.

Also, I learned when leaving cricket and going into proper business that one can't stagnate. There is much more strategy involved in business, much more communication, many more skills involved in handling yourself and working out strategies, working out visions.

I'm better off with this job than playing cricket. You've got a normal lifestyle, time to enjoy your hobbies, your family and friends, and the money you make. You've got more time to spend with your kids at their sport.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi

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