Fanie Devilliers - Portrait of a test bowler
‘You know South Africans, we never give up.’ Few cricket enthusiasts need an introduction to the man who spoke these words with so much conviction—Petrus Stephanus de Villiers—better known as Fanie de Villiers, the South African ‘quick’.
Fanie established himself as a sports hero with his match-winning performance against Australia in Sydney in 1993-94 when he took 6 for 43 in the second innings to send the opponents tumbling at 111 all out when they needed only 117 runs to win. This compelling biography written by noted sports writer and Fanie’s long-time confidant, Trevor Chesterfield, leads us through the ups and downs of his cricketing career, from the time he was the scrawny ‘Faantjie’ (little Fanie) through the critical injuries and traumatic exclusions that dogged his international cricketing career. What emerges from this involved account is the man behind the cricketer—an inveterate traveller, a practical joker and collector of books on Greek history and mythology; more importantly, a man who through every trial and tribulation bounced back with spirited zest, and never let his passion for the game or his sense of humour fail him. In recounting Fanie’s career, the book gives an informed insight into South Africa’s struggle to dissociate itself from a past marked by segregation and violence. It is also a telling commentary on the turbulent history of South African cricket in the past fifteen years which, above all, underlines the undying spirit of the game that the likes of de Villiers embody; the spirit that enables it to withstand unthinkable travails—from the curse of apartheid to the shame of match-fixing—and emerge as the unifying force of a nation in turmoil.
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