AB hungry for Champions Trophy glory

AB de Villiers

Captain believes team up to task with right balance of skills

The balance of the Proteas side gives captain AB de Villiers genuine hope that they will do well in the Champions Trophy One Day tournament in the United Kingdom next month.

South Africa start their campaign against Sri Lanka – at the Kennington Oval on June 3, in London – where they will be looking for a solid performance to set the tone for the rest of the tournament.

Speaking before the team departed from Johannesburg on Tuesday‚ De Villiers said balance was their biggest asset because they cover all the bases with bat‚ ball and their fielding on the pitch.

“Our biggest strength is the balance that we have in the squad. I really believe that we cover all the bases when it comes to spin‚ seam and proper pace bowling,” De Villiers said.

“We also have an amazing bowling lineup, which is similar to the one that we had at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and prior to that.

“The other important thing is that we have played together for a while now.”

Last year‚ De Villiers‚ who controversially opted against some of South Africa’s tours to manage his workload‚ said he would be devastated if the Proteas failed to lay their hands on the trophy.

“We have been playing some good cricket over the last few years, from the 2015 World Cup‚ which was a disappointment.

“But we have raised the bar and picked ourselves up. We go with confidence and we would like to win the trophy.

“I have not won a Champions Trophy before and, obviously, the desire is there.

“Lots has happened in my career individually and I have shifted my focus to this kind of tournament that I have not won yet,” the fiery batsman said.

“I have worked hard on the recovery of my back injury which has been an issue for the last few years. It will mean a lot to me to win this kind of tournament.”

De Villiers said quick adaptation to English conditions was going to be important for the Proteas if they were to return home with the trophy.

“England is different to some other countries we have played in, because you get a little bit of everything over there.

“There is the Edgbaston that turns a bit at times – and some of the wickets move around with the new ball‚” he said.

“It is a good balanced cricket destination, where you have to cover all the bases to be able to play a good brand of cricket in a tournament with different opposition. “You have to be able to adapt.” Meanwhile, the Proteas team management have banned the players’ wives and girlfriends from the team for the duration of the Champions Trophy, in a bid to have the squad fully focused on the event.

Other teams in SA’s Group B are Asian powerhouses Pakistan and India.

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