Good things happen in threes
What a few weeks it’s been! First I realised my dream of becoming a test cricketer and that went quite well. Then I came back to South Africa and got engaged to my girlfriend, Imari, which was amazing. And now I’ve just been made captain of the national T20 side for the series against New Zealand.
People say that good things happen in threes, so I think I’m fresh out of good luck! Nonetheless, it’s been an amazing time in my life and I’m very grateful for all the good fortune and opportunities that have come my way.
I’m also mindful of the fact that the captaincy is a temporary thing, with my old mate AB de Villiers waiting in the wings to resume leading the side. He’s had quite a workload these past few months, and even though he’s still in the squad, it will be good for him to have one more thing off his plate for the time being.
Just looking back at the engagement, I managed to find a beautiful place in Mpumalanga called Timamoon, which is close to the Kruger National Park. I was looking for something quiet and exclusive, and because I’ve always been a bit of a beach bum, with lots of holidays at the beach, I was looking for something different.
Timamoon was perfect, with a cabin in the mountains with a fantastic view. The day of the engagement was really special, with Imari and I enjoying a picnic overlooking the river and mountains. Then we had a five-course dinner in the evening and I had arranged with the chef to bring the dessert out with ‘Will You Marry Me’ written in chocolate sauce. I also asked one of the staff members to stand discreetly at the back with a camera, to capture the big moment.
Anyway, I saw the dessert come out and knew that this was my big moment. I got up to stand next to Imari, but she was so focused on looking at the beautiful dessert that she didn’t see the chocolate writing! I had to prompt her, saying “can you see anything written on your plate?”
So she finally saw what I was talking about and that prompted me to get down on my knee and ask her to marry me. Imari was in quite a bit of shock, but it was a really amazing moment. And we got the moment captured on camera! It was just a lovely two days and something I’ll always remember.
It was then back to reality and fortunately the good news that I’d officially been made captain of the Proteas T20 team for the New Zealand series.
Andrew Hudson, the head of the selectors, actually spoke to me in Australia and asked if I’d be interested in the captaincy. I told him that it would be a massive honour and that’s how it feels now that it’s actually happened.
I’ve always enjoyed being captain and it’s going to be interesting captaining AB again after all these years. I was actually always the captain through our school days and he’s an easy guy to captain. I know that the only thing he’ll have for me is support, and I’ll be looking to him for that guidance as he’s now an incredibly experienced international player.
I’ll also be drawing on my time observing Graeme Smith as a captain. I like to take a bit from all the good leaders, while bringing my own style of captaincy to the job.
Lastly, I just want to quickly recap my brief time with the Melbourne Renegades. I stayed on in Australia after the test series to play the opening game of Australia’s KFC Big Bash T20 League.
It was against our fellow Melbourne team, the Stars, who had Shane Warne in their ranks. Unfortunately for the legend, he went for 41 in two overs as our captain, Aaron Finch, took him apart on his way to a hundred.
I got to face Shane for a couple of balls and it was nice to be able to say I’ve done that. Sadly for him, he had quite a bit to say in the lead-up to the game and it didn’t work out for him. But, that’s Shane Warne and he’s still a legend.
The whole experience was just amazing. I think we have much to learn from the Aussies in terms of putting on a show, as they had things like glowing stumps, cameras in the umpires’ hats, motocross before the game etc.
Also, there were about 30 000 people – it really was a show, and we could take a leaf out of their book in terms of our Twenty20 cricket and how we promote it using international players.
Coming back home, after a 14-hour flight, Titans coach Matthew Maynard and I decided that it was probably best if someone else played in the semifinal against the Cobras, which was fair. Unfortunately the guys lost, but the Cobras were in good form.
Now I’m just looking forward to a successful few weeks with the Proteas.