Crowe's advice to de Villiers

9:00 am on 26 February 2015

Former New Zealand cricket captain Martin Crowe has written a heartfelt letter of support - to South Africa's captain AB de Villiers.

Crowe, recognised as one of the game's great thinkers, regularly writes for cricinfo and in his latest effort he has written a colourful piece to the South African side, offering advice on how to improve their Cricket World Cup chances.

New Zealand cricketing great Martin Crowe speaking to media at Eden Park.

New Zealand cricketing great Martin Crowe speaking to media at Eden Park. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The Proteas, among the pre-tournament favourties, have had a rough start to the cup, being thrashed by India on Sunday. They face a resurgent West Indies tomorrow.

In the letter Crowe says while his "heart, naturally, is dressed in black", his head was still picking the South Africans to bounce back.

However, to do that de Villiers needed to reconsider his leadership.

"Firstly, and most important of all, any success of the highest order is down to bold, courageous leadership.

"You guys should know; you had one of the best of all time - Nelson Mandela. So my first little tip is to acknowledge that bold leadership is your domain.

Crowe writes that Brendon McCullum has already shown the way, "mounting an assault, just as Edmund Hillary did".

"On your side, if I were you, AB, I'd reach out and feel the presence of Madiba [Mandela]."

Crowe offers a lot of sensible advice to de Villiers about how to get the best out of his players and also a touch of personal beauty advice.

"Have a shave, AB, you look ragged and rattled. Smarten up. A touch of polish is required. Since that 31-ball ton, you have got a bit sloppy. You need to be all things in all situations. You need to lead like never before. Take a leap of faith. Feel Mandela in your bones."

He signs off by simply saying: "Respect, a big fan."

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