The rivalry between school teams is big in South Africa and they travel across the country â€“ from Cape Town to Durban to Johannesburg â€“ to play cricket matches through the year. It's in one of these school matches that AB de Villiers the maverick and Faf du Plessis the dour customer came to the fore.
"The big players that we played at that time were Hashim Amla and Imran Khan, the off-spinner that played for South Africa," the coach of their school team, Deon Botes points out.
"That was an interesting game in the sense that it was a lively wicket and we bowled them out for 140 but Amla made 73. And he did hit the ball cleanly as well that day on a difficult wicket. So, you could see then that this guy can play. And when we batted, we lost our first two wickets early, so Faf batted three and AB four. Imran Khan really bowled well and I know Faf at that stage struggled a bit against him.
"So obviously Faf is an important guy to bat through when the wicket is difficult and when they walked out for drinks, AB came to me and said, 'sir just tell Faf to give me the strike against Khan and I will sort him out.' And I said to Faf, 'it seems like you are struggling against the off-spinner' and he said 'yes sir, I don't know what to do.' I said, 'alright, just get a single, AB will sort him out.' "And when AB got the strike, he went down the track and hit him (Khan) over extra cover -- it was turning big. And then he slog-swept him over cow (corner). And then Imran Khan was done! But that's the difference â€“ AB always had that ability to take the game away from people," observes Botes, who is also on the selection panel that picked the Under-19 side, currently playing in World Cup in New Zealand.