And the 32-year-old wouldn’t have it any other way. For Davids, playing cricket is chiefly for the sheer enjoyment of the game and, even if he gets knocked over early, he believes in playing with a smile on his face.
“My aim is to go out and enjoy myself and to win games for the Titans. I’m big on enjoying the game, that should stay the same whether you score nought or a hundred. Obviously you’re disappointed if you get out for a duck, but you must try not to show it,” Davids says.
Davids was born in Stellenbosch and made his first-class debut for Boland against the New Zealanders in Paarl in 2000/01 and played for the Cobras for six seasons before his career prospects became inert in the Cape and he moved up north to join the Titans in 2010. And he says he’s having the time of his life in Centurion.
“I was the leading run-scorer in the SuperSport Series in 2007/8 [817 @ 48.05] and I had a good season thereafter as well, before breaking my finger and tearing ligaments and then being dropped. I was very confused as to why I had been dropped, but I wasn’t really enjoying my cricket in Cape Town and there were a lot of things going on around the team.
“I was looking for a different challenge and the best cricketing decision was to come to the Titans, a very healthy and successful franchise. I got along with the guys very well and I’m enjoying my cricket the most now,” Davids says.
There has always been an air of adventure in Davids’ batting but, as a senior player now with nearly a hundred first-class games under his belt, he is intent on playing the percentages better.
“I concentrate a lot on the basics now. Anyone can play a cover-drive, but the most difficult thing is getting in and building an innings. To do that, you need to do the little things right,” he says.
Davids has recently also been contributing with some under-rated off-breaks, having been a quick bowler at school before suffering a stress fracture in his back. By then he had already established himself as a bright young batting star, having played in the CocaCola Khaya Majola Week for three years.
And the father of two girls admits that his talent has sometimes only flickered in franchise cricket.
“I’d still like to fulfil my full potential, I haven’t always done it justice in the past,” the scorer of 10 first-class centuries, four in List A and one in Twenty20, says.
But the burden of captaincy is certainly not increasing the pressure on Davids.
“I’ve only captained before at school and academy level, but I think I’ve learnt a lot about the game since my first-class debut in 2000. I guess my personality suits captaincy because I’m very calm and I don’t lose my temper. It’s a great challenge, but I love it. When Matthew Maynard [coach] spoke to me about being captain, he didn’t have to ask me twice. It’s an honour to captain a franchise with such a great history.”
The Davids family hail from the Cape Winelands town of Pniel and his father was a star of the Board leagues playing for the Coronation club.
“My dad was a wicketkeeper/opening batsman and, as a youngster, I thought I must just do the same. I started playing when I was six for the Coronation club’s U12 side,” Davids says.
And the diminutive batsman has had to overcome some early scarring to make it at first-class level.
“My first memory is playing on one of those coir mats, opening the batting and getting hit on the head. I fell over on to the stumps as well … But I don’t get hit on the head a lot since then … the difference is I’ve learnt how to hook now,” Davids smiles.
A man of simple tastes, Davids says his family is his favourite hobby and his most valuable possession is his second daughter, Ashlyn, born on November 5.
“Being with my family is the best time of my life, I was brought up in a big family. I do enjoy the odd round of golf as well though … “ he says.
During that purple patch in 2007-2008, Davids played a couple of games for South Africa A, scoring a century against Sri Lanka A in Benoni, and he admits to still dreaming about playing international cricket, although he knows the chances are slim.
“Of course I still dream about it. The body’s still lasting, I’m in good nick, but I just want to go out and enjoy my cricket and win games for the Titans.”
After more than two months of limited-overs cricket, Davids is now turning his attention back to leading the Titans in the Sunfoil Series, beginning with a crunch game against the log-leading Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras in the Mother City from December 20. It will be a mammoth encounter between the defending champions and the team who won the competition the previous two seasons.
The Titans have had a lean time thus far in the competition, with just 13.32 points from a loss and a draw in their two matches.
But Davids is certain his team is up to the challenge of lifting themselves off the bottom of the log.
“We’ll just concentrate on getting the basics right and if we do that, we can beat any team. We’ve been playing in patches, we still haven’t hit our straps, but if we play to our full potential, then the sky’s the limit!”