Proteas batting maverick AB de Villiers, who stunned the cricketing fraternity by announcing a shock retirement from international cricket last month, has advised the budding cricketers to make tough choices to succeed as there are always a lot of distractions which come in the way.
"There are a lot of distractions that any player must navigate in their career. It can feel like everyone wants a piece of you when you get closer to the top," De Villiers quoted according to IANS.
"When you enter the public stage, there is a lot of pressure on your shoulders to perform at the highest level every time. Any young player looking to succeed needs to make tough choices, work hard and always stay focussed. Starting a family and recovering from injury, I managed to find a balance," he added.
Sharing his mantra which brought him success, AB said: "To follow your dreams, to be honest and to work hard at whatever you do. Whether you're on the cricket pitch or at home: being true to yourself is the best."
De Villiers, who made his international debut way back in 2004, boasts of quite a few world records to his name. He is the proud owner of the record of being the quickest to reach fifty (16 balls), hundred (31 balls) and 150 runs (64 balls) in one-day internationals. Moreover, AB is the only batsman in the history of ODI cricket to have an average of above 50 with a strike-rate of 100+.
During his 14-year long cricket career, De Villiers amassed 9577 ODI runs in 228 matches at an average and strike-rate of 53.50 and 101.09 respectively. Besides, the 34-year-old batting genius has also proved his mettle in the longest format. AB has scored 8765 runs in 114 Tests at an average of 50.66 with 22 centuries and 46 fifties.
No wonder, AB de Villiers is hailed as one of the greatest cricketers of all time with some even tagging him as the most gifted cricketer on the planet.
"It's flattering when people call you a game changer, but on any given day, any given player can change the course of a match either with the bat or ball. My career reached a crossroads in 2008, when I realised specifically that I needed to work on my defence to support my attacking game and, more generally, when I started to benefit from the support and guidance of a new management team," AB remarked.
He also has some suggestions for those who want to make big on the cricket pitch.
"There are two elements to bear in mind when you take guard - the first is the position of the fielders, so you can try to hit the ball into gaps, and the second is the place where you think the bowler is going to deliver the ball," De Villiers said.
"Cricket in its most basic form is a battle between bowler and batsman, and it is always important to try and work out what the bowler will do next, to try and cut down his options by being creative at the crease and ultimately trying to dominate this struggle," he added.
AB stated that one always has doubts as a batsman but the challenge lies in overcoming those demons.
"That is the human condition and it is also part of the game, not just beating the other team but overcoming your own fears and insecurities on your way to victory. There has always got to be something on the line," De Villiers asserted.
"The high-pressure moments, where I can feel that I can make a difference and lead my team to a win. You need those moments of doubt to be a better player," he added.