BENGALURU: Set to play in his landmark 100th match in the second Test against India here on Saturday, South African batting lynchpin A B de Villiers today said that his forays into other sports have helped him mould into the cricketer that he is today.
31-year-old de Villiers excelled at various sports like rugby, football, hockey and badminton before taking up cricket as a career and contemporary cricket's best batsman said that itself has actually given him an edge over others.
"All kinds of sports while growing up shaped me into the cricketer I am today. I don't think I can turn my back on that. I played a lot of ball sports in a sports crazy family. Two older brothers that always kept me busy in the backyard with all kinds of games," de Villiers told reporters here.
"My parents were never against me playing all kinds of sports. They always let me make my own decisions and that's a valuable lesson growing up. They allowed me to spread my wings and to do my own things. It was completely my own decision to go into cricket.
"I think my dad would have liked me to be a doctor or to go to university and get a degree but he'll obviously be happy with where I am at the moment and the career I've chosen and what I've achieved with my cricket. Same with my mom, no pressure from her side. My family gave me a lot of opportunities to express my talent," he said.
Perceived to be a friendly player among cricketers, de Villiers, however, said he is not a nice guy once he enters the cricket field.
"I'm not a nice guy on the field. I want to win games. I'll do whatever it takes for us to win games of cricket. If I have to sledge, I'll get involved like that. I'll try and intimidate a player if I have to. I'll try and get Virat off his game by talking about his technique and little flaws. I don't mind doing things like that, whatever it takes to win games of cricket.
"I've never really respected a guy who's been a 'nice guy' on the field. I want opposition to be hard, to play to win games for their team. Off the field, I try to be a good human being and it's got nothing to do with cricket. I now my role in the side and that's to win games for my team. A lot of times I don't have to be a nice guy to do that."