Happy Birthday, Vinnige Fanie!

by Brenda Taylor
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Former South African cricketer Fanie de Villiers turns 55 today! To celebrate the legendary bowler’s day we take a look at some fun facts about his cricketing career.

  • Fanie de Villiers played 18 test matches and 83 One Day Internationals for South between 1992 and 1998. He was as a right arm fast-medium bowler and a right hand batsman.
  • He took 85 test wickets and 95 ODI wickets during his career.
  • As a teenager De Villiers represented South African Schools as a javelin thrower.
  • In December 1993, at the age of 29, Fanie De Villiers was called up to the national test team for their tour of Australia. During the second test match in Sydney, De Villiers had a memorable match and established himself in the team. With Australia needing just 117 runs to win, De Villiers took 6 wickets for 43 runs, including the final wicket (a return catch from Glenn McGrath) to lead South Africa to a five run win. De Villiers’ match figures of 10 wickets for 123 runs earned him the Man of the Match award.

Fanie de Villiers

  • In the 3rd test match against Australia in 1994. Fanie de Villiers showed massive courage when he batted for 198 minutes as a nightwatchman batsman scoring 30 runs. Unfortunately South Africa lost that match.
  • In a test match against Pakistan in Johannesburg during the 1994–95 season, De Villiers became the first ever South African to score a fifty and take a 10-wicket-haul in a test match. He scored 66 not out and took 6 for 81 and 4 for 27.
  • De Villiers could easily bowl at close to 140km per hour.
  • Fanie de Villiers now works as a television cricket commentator and also as a corporate speaker.

Fanie de Villiers

  • In his early 20s Fanie de Villiers was an Army lieutenant.
  • In a freak accident while he was in the army he almost lost his eye. He was a couple of meters away from a road construction site where heated lime that is used for building roads hit his eyes. He lost his vision for nearly a week. Six of the eight layers of his eyes were burnt off. When he closes his eyes he can still see spots because of it.
  • Fanie de Villiers studied to become a teacher and has a university degree in teaching.
  • De Villiers is involved in charity. He raises money for deaf charities because he has both a brother and a daughter who are deaf. He once raised R800 000 cycling from Cape Town to Pretoria and he raised R189 000 sitting at the top of a floodlight tower at a test match in Centurion. Along with former cricketer Andrew Hall, Fanie de Villiers runs an organisation called HEAR. They help hearing impaired kids receive implants that allow them to hear.

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