Birmingham - South Africa one-day cricket captain AB de Villiers said Sunday that just as batsmen always wanted to make a hundred so too did he hope that Nelson Mandela reached a century of birthdays.
Worldwide concerns have been mounting for the health of Mandela after South Africa's first black president, revered for his transformational role in guiding the country from apartheid to multi-racial democracy, spent a second day in hospital on Sunday with a lung infection.
It is the fourth hospital stay since December for the Nobel peace prize laureate, set to turn 95 next month, after he was discharged in April following treatment for pneumonia.
"He's a legend in our country," de Villiers, speaking at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, central England, where South Africa play Pakistan in a Champions Trophy one-day international match on Monday, said of Mandela.
"He obviously turned things around for our beautiful nation.
"I just hope he gets better very soon. We all know he's quite old. I think he's 95 right now, and I've still got a few years to get there, but I can only imagine it's not too easy moving around at that age," the 29-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman added.
"But I wish him well and I hope he recovers really soon, and he can maybe still make a difference in our country in the next few years to come, and maybe even get that big 100 when it comes to birthdays. So we're hoping he gets better soon."