Yes, that is me. Yes, I am now famous. A few days ago, I checked out AB's website to discover to my horror that he now had a scrolling fan mail section running across the top of his page. It moved too fast to actually read anything without getting sore eyes, but I noticed the comments seemed pretty recent. And from there I decided that the only way I was going to post about AB's site was if I managed to get myself on it.
And I did. It was just a matter of making myself seem like a fan and disguising my ridicule at his amazing website as best as possible. I am now on AB de Villiers' website and he is none the wiser as to who I am or my true identity. Super sleuth Amy, that's what they call me. If you look up the website, you'll see my fan mail after a while. It is listed after a person named Suhail Bhat, and the comment that is published is:
Hey AB!!!! This is just fan mail, but I didn't know where else to send it!!! I'm Aussie and I think you're the greatest!!! Keep up the great work, I love your fielding and your website is THE BEST!!! I think the scrolling comments are AWESOME!!!! ... Hope your team wins all the ODIs and you get more hits on your GREAT website!!!
I think Albie is also really amazing and awesome!!!
"Do you see my armpits? I'm the amazing one. Remember that."
AB has a little motto which he uses to sign-off on diary entries: "Stay sharp!" He's even included it in a logo in the header of his site. I don't know what kind of a person you would have to be to do something like make up a cutesy motto to represent yourself, but as I find out through my exploration of the site, AB is a creepily positive and entirely strange person. He seems to be made out of cardboard. I literally cannot detect any personality in this guy besides "WE JUST LOST BUT I'M FEELING SO POSITIVE!!!! Stay sharp!". It is unnerving.
Take his latest diary entry, for example:
We've just arrived at the O.R Tambo airport and I've managed to find a quick 10 minutes for a short update. We're travelling to Durban for the 1st of 5 ODI's. Today will include a quick half an hour of exciting beach volleyball, and then a good stretch and swim session in the warm waters of the ocean.
A wonderful start to the shorter version of the game for us!! That's exactly what we were hoping for. We played very good cricket in the last two Pro 20's and gained a lot of momentum going into the 1st one day international.
We'll be aiming to keep raising our standard of play!
Hope to make you proud over the next couple of weeks.
Then there's his constant obsession with "raising our standard of play" or words to that effect. It is present in nearly every diary entry he makes. Even when South Africa have just won a series or thrashed the Aussies, he returns to the old "we'll be looking to raise the bar in the next match!" I am disturbed by how generic he is. How do you keep up this personality without imploding? Is he always this way? How do his teammates stand him? That is my question.
SA have just lost a Test series 5-0. They sit dejectedly in the dressing room.
AB: Don't worry, guys! We'll just have to aim to raise our standard of play! Stay sharp! Here's some cookies I baked for you guys to make you feel better! Mmm, choc chip! Jacques, have some. I reserved an entire batch especially for you!
AB is determined to not appear to be gloating about his amazing abilities in sport. He has all SuperSport articles relating to the SA cricket team syndicated on his website, so every article appears there automatically. However, when he recently hit the 163 against Australia, an article about "AB thrashing the Aussies" appeared on his website. And then a day later, it was taken down, mysteriously vanishing from the site. "163?" says AB. "What 163? I'm just a humble cricketer." He avoided the topic in his diary entry as well.
In fact, the only mention you will find of his sporting prowess is in the highly amusing "Profile" of him. He plays cricket, golf, tennis and rugby. His golf handicap is 5. In case you weren't feeling inferior enough already. There's also some extremely useful stuff on this page:
He’s also a bundle of energy and agility in the field and, when called upon, has kept wicket with distinction for province and country.
A bundle of energy and agility!
He writes songs and plays the guitar, and is planning to release a CD before long.
He's already released a single titled "Show them who you are" with a random Ampie du Preez. It is... interesting. That is all I am willing to volunteer in my current state.
Is he scared of anything? Jip, snakes!
Jip... oh god...
He likes pasta, and prefers to drink passionfruit & soda.
I hope we don't have another Kallis on our hands. At least Jack Daniels isn't his favourite drink. Although I'm not sure whether passionfruit & soda is any better.
AB’s most-loved book is The Bible.
He loves…South Africa
When he was young, they had a staffie, called Boris.
I'm so glad I know this now.
If he had to choose between communicating via SMS, email, letters or the phone… SMS will win!
I don't understand the point of this.
If you're a cricket fan or player with a burning question, there's also an Ask AB section in which he answers your questions. This is actually the only way through which you can send him fan mail, so AB must have to sort through hundreds of fan mail to find the Ask AB questions in order to answer them. I wonder how he does it. One day I will send him fan mail with a question mark on the end in order to throw him off a little.
If you're looking for entirely nonspecific cricketing advice, AB is the man to go to. Most of his responses to questions about batting/fielding mistakes are:
"Believe in yourself!!"
"Never force the ball! Just try and time it. Your natural ability will take over!!"
"Just hit it."
He also states the 3 Australian cricketers he'd most like to have dinner with are Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey and Brett Lee. I understand Hussey and Brett Lee (he'd be wanting to get tips of making a music video from the latter - apparently he was going to make a video for "Show them who you are" before the tour in Australia, but ran out of time), but Michael Clarke? Well, alright, I suppose. But only if Clarke is able to get away from Katich to have dinner in the first place.
There is also one amusing Ask AB question in which a person who identifies themselves as "de Villiers" asks AB why he airs his religious views publicly. Here's what AB had to say:
Hi De Villiers,
From my side, I sincerely believe that whatever I may manage to achieve in cricket, or in any other area of life, is made possible by God, through his son Jesus Christ.
I'd feel creeped out if I was talking to myself.
Then you get the messages in Afrikaans:
Message: HHEY!!! EKT SO BAIE OM VIR JOU TE Sê-EERSTENS WIL EK VIR JOU GELUK WENS MET JOU UITSTEKENDE HONDERD TAL... DIT WAS FANTASTIES. TWEEDENS GELUK AAN DIE SPAN VIR DIE BRILJANTE WEN! DIS AL WAAROOR EK PRAAT VAN GISTER AF, EN GAAN DAAROOR PRAAT TOT ONS VOLGENDE WEN... DIT WAS NOGAL HARTSEER OM STEVE BUCKNOR TE SIEN GAAN. HOOP JY GENIET DIE BLAASKANSIE...
She appears to be frantically trying to get a message across. I just don't know what. It might be a life and death situation, based on the apparent urgency of the message.
Still, this has been a fascinating foray into AB's website. I am now officially on a cricketer's website. Score! And AB cutting out my comments on Albie Morkel is the funniest thing I have experienced this week. I think it might be the one thing that makes this site even better than Jacques Kallis's.