Having faced Pakistan over the summer and having to face them again in tomorrow’s ICC Champions Trophy does not worry Proteas ODI captain AB de Villiers one bit.
In fact, the familiarity of the opponent has given him more confidence than anything else.
“It’s ideal to play one of the teams which I think is one of the best in the world. Its perfect preparation for us,” De Villiers said.
“They have got a well balanced team and we’ll be facing good seam and spin bowling. We’ll be bowling to some of the best batters in the world.”
One cat he did let out of the bag was that the team that is fielded against Pakistan will probably be the team that will start in the Champions Trophy opener against India in Cardiff. With that tasty morsel also on the menu, De Villiers chose to keep his focus to far shallower streams.
“We are from a proud cricketing nation and we would like to make them proud in this tournament but at the moment, all our focus will be with the warm-up game and leading up to the first game against India,” De Villiers said.
“We wouldn’t like to look too far ahead even though we would like to win the tournament. We have the full confidence in that we are going to do so but we’ve got to take it one step at a time. It is something all the other captains will be touching on.”
Besides JP Duminy’s excellent 150 against the Netherlands, De Villiers said he was impressed by how the part-time bowlers came on and released the pressure from the front line bowlers. With Pakistan being one of the teams that play spin competently, De Villiers said the Proteas’ spin attack should not be underrated.
“There are some good spin bowlers in all the other teams but I believe Robin Petersen, who’s been around for a long time, has surprised people by the number of wickets he’s taken,” De Villiers said.
“In his own right, he’s one of the best in the world and we also have JP as a part-time bowler who’s surprised in the past. Then there’s Aaron Phangiso who also impressed. We don’t have a spin weakness, it’s just a matter of me finding the right time for them to have the biggest impact on the game.
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