Even before the South African cricket team bus entered the hotel premises, some of the cricket fans gathered inside the hotel lobby were chanting only one name. “AB de Villiers, AB de Villiers,” the fans shouted. When the bus entered the hotel and players got off, the fans were busy clicking photographs of the player who has so far received plenty of cheers from the Indian fans during the past one month.
AB De Villiers spent some time with a team official before he entered the hotel lobby, followed by Dale Steyn, and the fans knew that both the players would be under the spotlight once the Test match starts on November 5.
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“We just came to watch AB de Villiers and he has been our role model. The way he plays cricket is tremendous and whenever he scores a century, it’s a treat for us. We hope that he will smash a century at Mohali and would enjoy the conditions here. Yes, we will be cheering for India but when AB bats, we cheer for him all the time,” said Gaurav Kumar, a resident of Jalandhar, who had come to the city for a function.
AB de Villiers, who smashed a century on Saturday against Board President XI in Mumbai, looked refreshed even after the flight from Mumbai. Players like Steyn and Faf du Plesis were seen listening to songs on their headphones.
Pakistan-born Imran Tahir and South African captain Hashim Amla were seen together and the duo talked for some time before Tahir was joined by his wife Summaya Dilar, a South African of Indian descent, and son.
“The players relaxed during the travel from the airport to the hotel and were seen enjoying music and chatting with each other. Most of them wanted to rest today and they will start training early on Monday,” said one of the officials travelling with the team.
With all the spotlight on the South African players, there was one person who has been contributing a lot to the South African team, who also made an entry along with the team. Indian video analyst Prassana Agoram, who previously worked with Royal Challengers Bangalore team in the IPL, also accompanied the team. Agoram played for the Tamil Nadu U-19 team and joined the National Cricket Academy in 2004 and joined the South African team in 2010. Arogam had worked with players like Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher during his stint with the Royal Challengers Bengaluru before 2010.