WHAT AN ANECDOTE!?
In 2006, A B de Villiers was opening the batting and arrived in Kwazulu Natal following a couple of low scores in the 1st test in Cape Town. He was edgy. He was nervous. He was hyperactive and in need of a score. All of those attributes compounded the issue and concluded in one of the more extraordinary tales of an international sportsman.
The night before he was due to bat (against Australia) on the 25th of March against the likes of a potent Lee and Warne, he decided some extra hours of shut eye were warranted. After a draining day in the field watching a Ponting century, he retired very early to the private sanctuary of his beachfront hotel room around 8 pm. Restless sleep followed as the batting demons played havoc with his mind and he exhausted himself with visions of the challenge the following day.
He eventually awoke in a startled state, riddled with apprehension about the day ahead. A quick glance at his watch escalated the anxiety. It was 10.30! He suddenly realised he was late for the start of play on Day 2 and massive panic immediately set in.
He dived into the shower, hurriedly donned his team tracksuit and rushed to the breakfast room to douse the flame of hunger that was burning away at his stomach following a meal void previous evening. As he arrived his worst fears were confirmed.
The staff were clearing the service and he was too late for food. He knew he would be in Graeme Smith’s little black book forever for sleeping in during a Test match. He snatched a slice of bread from the nearest table and bolted for the elevator to scramble for a taxi to Kingsmead.
Upon arriving in the foyer in a dishevelled and horror filled state, he realised his folly. It was still dark outside! He had actually awoken after only two hours sleep and it was in fact 10.30pm, not 10.30am! His watch combined with his fretful psychological state had succeeded to lie to him....
Read the whole Mike Haysman ode to young de Villers here.