Lockdownmay have been tough for all, but just how much tougher has it been for sportspeople, who thrive on the outdoors, to find themselves locked in to protect themselves and the rest of humankind? When we ask this question to AB de Villiers, we discover that however difficult the situation, the human spirit unfailingly invents ways to overcome all odds.
“I’ve been at home in Pretoria with my wife and two young sons,” the 35-year-old former SA cricket captain tells us from South Africa. “It has obviously been a strange time in many ways and we have been careful, but we have also enjoyed spending time together in a way that daily life previously made impossible.”
There’s a spark of optimism in what AB is saying. “The positives are certainly the time spent with family. We [wife Danielle Swart and I] have literally been able to watch our sons growing up, and that has been fantastic.”
Willy-nilly, a chat with a sportsman always veers towards fitness and keeping fit while staying indoors during a pandemic has been even more essential. “We are fortunate to have a small gym at home, which has helped immensely,” says AB. “I have also been teaching my boys [John Richards, aged 5, and Abraham, aged 2] how to play golf using the small putting green in a garden and a net, which I managed to construct. The key to keeping fit and eating well is good habits, and we have managed to keep those going.”
As the return of cricket begins to loom on the horizon, AB presents a reality check. What will stadiums without spectators be like? And how will you feel as a player?
“Like anybody else, we will have to accept the realities of the situation and get on with the challenge of providing entertainment,” says AB. “Of course, we would prefer to be playing in front of capacity crowds, but in this time, safety is paramount. If it turns out that we do have to play in empty stadiums, we will embrace the challenge. All any of us can do is to follow the advice of our governments and scientists.”
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