England v South Africa, 2nd NatWest ODI, West End August 28, 2012

De Villiers focuses on longer-term aims


AB de Villiers insisted that bigger challenges lie ahead after South Africa became the first side to be rated No.1 in all three formats of international cricket.

South Africa's 80-run victory in Southampton saw them replace England at the top of the ODI rankings, with England slipping to third place behind India. South Africa were already rated the No.1 Test and T20 side, having usurped England as the top ranked Test team little more than a week ago following the 2-0 series victory sealed at Lord's.

De Villiers, South Africa's limited-overs captain, said the team were proud of the achievement but suggested that they will be judged by more tangible success. Their main aims, he said, were the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and the 2013 Champions Trophy in England.

"The No.1 thing is a bit of a bonus," de Villiers said. "We're happy about it, but it's not a main goal or a main concern at the moment.

"I'm obviously very proud of it. It's a great achievement. Becoming No.1 was probably one of the goals of our Test team, as we have had a very settled team for the last few years. But the ODI and T20 sides contain a lot of new faces and a new captain. There are a lot of things still to achieve. We certainly weren't working towards getting No.1 in ODIs in this series.

"We want to play good ODI cricket, get a settled team and that's what we're working towards. It's not something that is one of our main goals. We're looking way ahead in the future: we have a World Cup in 2015 and the Champions Trophy in 2013 coming up."

De Villiers also provided a frank assessment of a well under par England's performance. "I won't say they're rattled but they didn't play their best cricket," he said. "We expect a much better England side in the next ODI. One thing is for sure: they didn't play at 100% today."

Key to South Africa's success was Hashim Amla's highest ODI score of 150. During the innings, Amla became the fastest man in the history of ODI cricket to reach 3,000 runs and will extend his lead at the top of the ICC ODI batting rankings.

"It definitely felt like one of my better ODI innings," he said. "What makes it special to me is that it was a difficult wicket and we won the game. "It's a lot more challenging with two new white balls up-front and there was a period in the middle of the innings when the spinners were on, there was some turn and I had to tread carefully and build a partnership. It was definitely one of the innings I've most enjoyed."

With the first game of the five-match series, in Cardiff, abandoned due to rain, South Africa are now 1-0 up with three games to play. The next game will take place at The Oval on Friday.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jay on August 29, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    @tommytucker: Cannot completely agree with you. I still feel ODIs should be there. I also don't ENJOY T20s at the international level. The format is most suitable for club cricket and should ONLY be present in pro leagues like the IPL, BBL, SLPL, BPL etc. For the international game, only tests and ODIs are suitable. I would however prefer the reduction of meaningless bilateral ODIs like a 5-match or 7-match series and instead bring back the triangular and quadrangular style tournaments from the 90s.

  • rahul on August 29, 2012, 17:25 GMT


  • tommy on August 29, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    I have to say, as a serious cricket fan I found the ODIs to be such an anti-climax to Test cricket. I just find Test cricket so much more exciting to watch with strategy and the art of working out your opponents with individual bowling and batting battles (Strauss vs Morkel, etc) ODIs are pointless, first and last half and hour exciting the rest is just churn. I say drop ODIs and just do Tests and T20s,.....thoughts?

  • Rajul on August 29, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster must congratulate you on your brilliant analysis of England being a favourite of sorts for 2015 WC because it made to the 1992 finals (20 years ago). What about the successes England had in the early 20's?surely it will have some bearing too It is very easy to see from the above why Sachin's intentions defy your logic. Let an Asian team surprise you in 2015.

  • Satish on August 29, 2012, 9:02 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster : I guess it is massively miisunderstood on Aussie conditions.. If i can get right, the Indian team which won in CB series and the SL team which gave tough fight to Aussies were not with express pace but accurate bowling of likes of Ishant, Sreesanth, Ifran, Kulasekara, Mathews, Thissera and Malinga. Only Ishant and Malinga has pace rest all are accurate swing bowlers. Even the U19 WC, the likes of Passi, Ravikant, Sandeep were just swing bowlers. Accuracy would do it more than fast in Australia. I wouldn't rule out an Asian team winning the 2015WC so soon. As of now, no team apart fron SA can stake claims but things can certainly change with time..

  • Gerald on August 29, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    Who cares about ODIs and T20s? Just chuck these stupid things off the calendar and play more Test matches!!

  • Knowledge on August 29, 2012, 7:42 GMT

    DLF is a very smart sponser. DLF knows this coming IPL-6 popularity will go down because of refusal of Sri-lankan players with english players into it. IPL should under there is a diff between PRIDE and PROUD.

  • Stanton on August 29, 2012, 6:39 GMT

    Aggree, winning the T20 world cup will be the real icing on the cake, and in throwing that horrible "chokers" tag away once and for all. But no matter what, proud of the way the boys are playing, and takign the challenge to England...

  • Jay on August 29, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    I think SA are REAL favourites for the world cup in 2015 simply because of the kind of pitches they have over in Australia and NZ. I cannot see an Asian team win that tournament. Australia should be the next favourites given they are the home side and of course you can always include England somewhere in there because they did make it to the 1992 finals and also find such conditions comfortable. I doubt whether Kallis would be around till then. If he is then good luck to him, it would mean he's gonna skip and choose a lot of fixtures to rest his body. Sachin is doing the same thing at present though his intentions clearly defy my logic.

  • sanjai on August 29, 2012, 1:56 GMT

    The Playing XI for 2015 WC be : AMLA , SMITH/ELGAR ,KALLIS/INGRAM ,AB , JP, Faf, Albie/Parnell,Steyn,Morkel,Tahir/Peterson/Botha,Tsotsobe. SUBS: De Kock,Miller

    Definitely cup is urz....

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