Looking for A. B. de Villiers!

I wanted to meet him to understand how he looks in real life, but I was too shy to approach him. I would peep from my door viewer to see if he was outside.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Sarfaraz Khan and A. B. de Villiers during a practice session in Bengaluru. “I told him that I wanted to become a batsman like him. He responded saying he wasn’t half as talented when he was my age,” says Sarfaraz on his first interaction with the South African legend.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Three years ago, when I was about to debut in the Indian Premier League for Royal Challengers Bangalore, I couldn’t believe I would be in the same side with A. B. de Villiers. He was in the opposite room in the hotel, and I had first seen his kit bag; that itself gave me goosebumps.

I wanted to meet him to understand how he looks in real life, but I was too shy to approach him. I would peep from my door viewer to see if he was outside. But two days passed and I hadn’t seen him. I saw him on the third day, but we officially spoke when I walked in to bat in the game against Kolkata Knight Riders. I hadn’t done any match analysis. At that point, all I could think of was my dream [to bat with AB] being fulfilled. It took a few minutes for the thought to sink in.

He hadn’t seen my game, so he didn’t know about me. When I scored 45 off 21 balls against Rajasthan Royals, he was impressed.

During the course of the tournament, I wanted to meet him again, but privately [to ask for tips]. I saw him enter the washroom, in the change room. In my head, I was like, “This is it. This is the moment I have been waiting for. Though the location [washroom] isn’t an ideal place.” (Laughs)

Once he came out, I told him that I wanted to become a batsman like him. He responded saying he wasn’t half as talented when he was my age.

My day was made!

As told to Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya.