India v South Africa, Champions Trophy, Group B, The Oval June 11, 2017

I'm a good captain, I can take this team forward - de Villiers

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AB de Villiers "absolutely" wants to lead South Africa in the 2019 World Cup despite being part of another failed campaign in an ICC event because he thinks he can be the man to oversee a change in South Africa's fortunes.

"Because I'm a good captain. And I can take this team forward. I can take us to win a World Cup, I believe," de Villiers said, after the defeat against India at The Oval. "I believed the same thing over here in this tournament and the last one here but that's what I believe. I love doing it."

De Villiers has captained South Africa's limited-overs' sides since 2011 and while he gave up the T20 reins in 2013, he remains the ODI skipper. Overall, he has played in 13 ICC events, dating back to the Champions Trophy in 2006, and captained in five but his first-hand knowledge of South Africa's litany of unsuccessful attempts to take home a trophy has not provided him with any answers to explain why they have yet to come out on top.

"We've covered all the bases. There's no doubt about that," he said. "We've had camp after camp. And we've worked really, really hard on the nets, and we back each other, we trust each other, and for some reason, things like that just keep happening."

Although de Villiers admitted that it was a "very poor batting performance" that saw South Africa slip from 76 without loss to 191 all out against India, he denied that they panicked.

"I felt the team was pretty composed today. I don't think we lost it there with composure. A few errors of judgement, a few mistakes out there cost us badly today," he said. "It's not going to do with composure in my eyes. I felt pretty calm with the team all the time. We played some good shots and then just a couple of bad, errors of judgement out there cost us."

And he did not attribute those mistake to any mental bogey-men but mused that maybe the nature of multi-team tournaments demanded too much of South Africa. "It wasn't a mental thing. We just didn't play well," he said. "Tournaments are a little bit different. You play different teams all the time on different venues, so it's a big challenge. No one said it's going to be easy. But we do come up short for some reason in tournaments like this, and it is pretty sad.

"I can't explain to you exactly what happens. I think you saw it out there today. It was just a very poor batting performance. It has nothing to do with the energy or the intensity or the belief in the team. We felt we had a great chance today. We came here to win the game of cricket. And then we just unraveled as a side out there."

The manner of that unraveling - the speed and the shot selection and the sheer stun-value of three run-outs by one of the most athletic teams on the international circuit -- is what disappointed de Villiers most. "The way we lost was the most disappointing part of it. We were really in a good position there with the batting end early on, and through soft dismissals we lost our way and that was the part for me that hurt the most," he said.

Pain is something South Africa, and de Villiers, have experienced a lot of. At the moment it is preventing him from being able to form a clear picture of where things went wrong and how they can be done better next time, when he intends to lead again.

"I'm not thinking about the next one now," he said. "We just sort of want to go get through this hurt now, because it's hurting quite bad. I've not thought about what we are going to think about our next tournament.

De Villiers would not be drawn into discussing whether he thinks anything should change before the next competition, except his own insistence that he will remain captain. Pushed on whether he saw a need for "more radical shake-up" de Villiers said: "That's a question that can only be answered by people who are in control of making radical decisions. That's not my decision. We'll have to wait and see what people out there want to decide or whoever is in control of making those kind of decisions. I don't think we are a bad cricket team."

They're not. South Africa came into this event ranked No.1 in the world. For that reason, perhaps, de Villiers does not think that they getting further away from eventually winning an event. "I must be very honest with you - not a lot of people believe me but I feel it's pretty close. I don't think it feels far away," he said. "It's very difficult to say that after a performance like this, but that's what I believe in my heart. I believe we're the very close unit. There's more than enough talent, and we've just got to get it right when it matters most."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan7855803488 on June 16, 2017, 20:32 GMT

    No you are not a good captain. Almost every game in the tournament was won by

  • Anstof on June 15, 2017, 20:59 GMT

    Just keep on trying. And please be humble...

  • -switch-hittt- on June 14, 2017, 4:24 GMT

    I disagree with those who say SA deserve to win a trophy.No one deserves to win anything you have to earn it . If SA is good enough they will win in future but its not that they deserve .

  • MonkeyFace on June 14, 2017, 4:21 GMT

    Would SA ever win any competition? Answer is Never! You can almost predict the outcome when they face pressure. Its unbelievable that they get no where with the most talented players, year after year! And its true, they deserve the title as Chokers!

  • zaka.ullah.khokhar on June 14, 2017, 0:19 GMT

    A.b you r good batsman but as far as captaincy is concern that depand on the leading approach . you must have to aggressive in difficult situation to lead your team some time calmness does not required . example tendulker outclass batsman but did not have the ability to lead.

  •   Brahatheeswaran Narayanan on June 13, 2017, 14:25 GMT

    I agree with some of the reasons given herein for SA's lack of success in multi nation tournaments. They are far too much systematic, pre-drilled, predictable in their methods. While strategy and planning are important , a bit of risk taking combined with giving players space for exhibiting their natural flair will go a long way in getting success. I do not think ABD is a good captain because people who complain overloads and try to manage their own personal work at the cost of national / team requirements are unlikely to be good leaders. Recent results have proved that. Also, SA can take a leaf out of England's book. Let them have majority of players outside the test team . So that attitudes and baggages from test format are not carried into shorter formats.

  • MasumKhan on June 13, 2017, 8:02 GMT

    Many are accusing AB for the defeat against India and suggesting Faf would be a better captain. It is unfair to blame AB's captaincy for the loss. Rather it was Faf's childish and funny way of running between the wickets that costed the valuable wickets of AB and Miller. SA's funny way of losing big matches is nothing new and AB was not the captain in those matches. Whole SA team needs Psychological counselling to hold their nerves in knock out matches.

  • cricmatters on June 13, 2017, 7:24 GMT

    The trouble with SA is, the team seem to be weighed down with too much tactical planning and not having a clear head to play their natural game. They appear like robots that have been pre-programmed to play in a certain way. May be it is their over reliance on analysis, strategy and tactics during pre-match meetings etc. Talented players should be allowed to express themselves. Go out in the middle, assess the situation and play accordingly. Faf led the Test team well in Australia so he can be given that role again. This should allow ABD to bat with a free mind. After all he is still the no. 1 ODI player in world rankings. Captaincy is over rated. In good teams, there is always a core of 3-4 players who guide the rest of the team by taking ownership and leading by example in any given situation. England and India are the two most balanced teams in the competition and would be playing the finals.

  • MasumKhan on June 13, 2017, 7:18 GMT

    Never AB never. You need nerves to win World Cup.

  • KevinFernandes on June 13, 2017, 5:18 GMT

    He is only fooling himself is De Villiers. The whole world can see that he is just not captaincy material. Some people are just not cut out for it. Faf is a way better captain than him. Also we can look around now and in past. Virat is ok but not so good. Sarfy for Pak is just starting but is off to a good start. Morgan is a leader and so are Smith and Williamson. Holder is not at all a leader. Mashrafe is a good leader and it shows in Banglas performances recently. So its better to just give up the captaincy to someone more capable and just focus on your batting ABD. The world and more so RSA needs ABD the batsmen for a few more years and not ABD the mediocre captain.

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