De Villiers: ‘I’m happy where I’m at’

The batsman isn’t planning to make a comeback to international cricket, but says, “never say never.”

Mo Farah, Garry Kasparov, Ric Charlesworth and AB De Villiers strike a perfect picture in the Royal Stag event in Delhi on Saturday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

AB de Villiers has dead batted a query on a possible comeback from retirement, clarifying “for now, I’m happy where I’m at” to expectant media persons at a press conference here on

However, he added “never say never,” and that “anything was possible in the future.”

The South African batting stalwart and Royal Challengers Bangalore star discussed being “in the zone” at the Wanderers, Johannesburg in a One-Day International against West Indies in January, 2015.

The innings — 149 off 44 deliveries — is renowned for being registered as the fastest century in the format (31 deliveries). The whirlwind knock, which propelled his side to a 148-run victory, was a “blur,” he confessed.

It was an innings closest to perfect for de Villiers, although he was quick to clarify “perfection” was forever elusive for any sportsperson. The press interaction, organised by Royal Stag Barrel Select Perfect Strokes, involved the other participants — hockey legend Ric Charlesworth, distinguished long-distance runner Mo Farah, and chess legend Garry Kasparov — speaking about their moments closest to perfection and other topics relating to their sporting disciplines.

Farah, like de Villiers, talked about “being in the zone” and chose to stay in the present than announce or predict participation in any big racing competition in the future. “Part of me does miss the track,” he said, when asked about his inclination towards running in the World Championships in Doha next year. “Just see what happens. I’ll take each race as it comes,” he said.

Part of moving in the direction of perfection is to keep learning; Charlesworth, the former India hockey coach, stressed on the importance of this when reflecting on Indian hockey. From being “the innovators of the game (sic)” in the early 20th century, the country suffered as it “stopped learning,” Charlesworth said.

However, the introduction of the Hockey India League was a decisive turning point, Charlesworth noted, as Indians were able to rub shoulders with hockey stars from abroad. “Both the men’s and women’s teams are competitive now; I’m optimistic of a resurgence of Indian hockey,” he said.

Kasparov defined perfection as “making fewer mistakes than your opponent.”

He admitted machines are useful for that purpose, but contrary to the idea of a conflict between human ingenuity and robotic accuracy, Kasparov believes in the marriage of the two.

Kasparov did play against a ‘machine’ — an IBM computer — in 1997, a contest he lost. He admitted the gulf between human and computer calculative skills are much bigger now than 20 years ago.

He said, “It’s not human versus machine, but human plus machine. Today’s new era must have a human-machine collaboration, and not a human-machine competition.”