South Africa v India, 2nd ODI, Durban December 8, 2013

'We're nowhere near the No. 1 team in the world' - de Villiers


A big series win for SA - AB de Villiers

Beat the No. 1 side by 141 runs. Beat them again by 134. In the first game, put them under a mountain of runs and straitjacket them with exceptional quick bowling. In the next, watch the same batsmen capitulate through low-percentage shots. This tour has all the makings of being to South Africa what the West Indies series was to India in November. And never mind what Dale Steyn feels, South Africa's elder statesmen are not getting ahead of themselves. AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla both laughed heartily when asked if this Indian team was proving to be too easy, but they wouldn't get drawn into making what could be seen as inappropriate statements that might come back to bite them later.

De Villiers was at pains to not be seen as arrogant when ahead. When asked if it was becoming a bit easy, because it felt so from the outside, de Villiers repeated the "no" five times.

"They are a world-class unit," de Villiers said. "They are world champions. I can go for an hour if I talk about the Indian team. [I] still expect them to come back in the third ODI. A lot of pride to play for. It will be massive for us to beat them 3-0. A lot to play for. They are still a world-class unit. We will always have respect for them as a team."

After his press conference, de Villiers moved to the right, and gave unassuming Hashim Amla the seat in front of the microphones. Now Amla and Quinton de Kock have added more than 150 in back-to-back games against India's bowling, becoming only the second pair in ODIs to do so. At times in the Durban ODI, it looked like they were not tested at all. Like de Villiers, Amla, too, was asked if the Indian bowling was "easy meat" for the openers.

Amla let out a loud laugh and said, "You want such a controversial thing for me to say."

After everyone had had their laughs and drawn their own inferences, Amla went on to say: "Nothing at all like that. Fortunately for me and Quinny [de Kock] - to score runs you need things to go your way. In both games, we could have got caught with leading edges, caught third man… Things have just gone our way in the last two games. India have bowled well upfront. We haven't gone off to blistering starts, just knocked it around a bit and bided our time. In the first game, AB and JP [Duminy] were the guys who did a bulk of the damage at the back end. Before that, they had bowled quite well. So there is no such thing as easy meat. We have fortunately got things going our way."

Having said that, de Villiers was pretty pleased his side had beaten the No. 1 side in ODIs so comprehensively in successive matches.

"We are nowhere near the No. 1 team in the world at the moment even though we have beaten them two in a row now," de Villiers said. "We know tournaments like the World Cup, they are about 11 games, this is just two in a row. It's definitely a step in the right direction, but in a humble way we would like to work hard on our game and make sure we still compete with the best in the world consistently."

Steyn's remarks that a few of the Indian batsmen might have been scared were still being talked about, but de Villiers also said that his batsmen have been setting up the games. He was "chuffed" that his lower order got him crucial runs in this match - especially the 29 in the last two overs - that turned a total just over par into a superlative one. Especially given South Africa's bowling, which now seems to have established a hold on the Indian batsmen.

"Hopefully, we did scare off a few of their batters going into the final ODI and the Test series," de Villiers said. "It's always nice to sort of scare a few batters going into a big series like this, especially a batting line-up like the Indian team has. I think they are very talented and to sort of get under their skin is always important, especially in home conditions."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy on December 10, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Hello all. I think Indian batsman lack application due to confuse situation of understanding bounce of the pitch & bowler speed. Look at S.Dhawan he time the shot perfectly but wanted to flash over point..why in your early innings, good players change tactics according to situation. Kohli wanted to run the ball to third man bit casually.. why dont u give time to adjust. Look at Hasim Amla, how he covers the swing, wait for what he is good at only & see the Success. For facing Styn u must know your off stump to cover swing. Dont go for shots. Cover well & place it to cover or point. Take singles. He will lose his rhythm. Try it guys for last one day or even in Tests. Good luck team India.

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    I think its simply the over confidence thats causing indian batsmen losing their wickets. There is no doubt that Styen is at his best, but this is also a fact that Indian batsmen are giving away wickets to even other SA bowlers due to either the fear of Styen, or their own over confidence. Come on Kohli, Rohit, Shikar.. you are not anything like Lara, Inzi, Amla, Ponting.. Not yet.. So don't be over smart..

  • nikhil on December 9, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    In the recent past India won the 20/20 world cup in South Africa,50 over world cup in India (First time a team won the world cup at home) and the champions trophy with a young side in England a few months ago. India are now also the Superpower in cricket , We own the famous IPL.We will dominate cricket in 10-15 years time. I am very very happy.

  • Harry on December 9, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    ABD knows his team is going strong while the Ind team is struggling. The ICC rankings are good guidance but not to be taken literally. Eng is getting blown away by Aus in the Ashes. SA is and will always be good at home and more so they are really good at winning bi-lateral series at home and away. The real test for SA is in multi national games like World Cup where the pressure gets to them and they choke. Then Steyn can talk about scaring batsmen. He is the best fast bowler right not but not too far ahead of Johnson and Siddle.

    MSD knew his team will struggle but did nothing to get better preparation time or even change his lineup to suit conditions. Why not pick Pujara and Zaheer in the ODIs to give test match practice. Even if Ind lost they can get some preparation for the tests. Also set up totals in bouncy pitches not try to chase it. Even if they scored 225 they could have pushed SA's chasing skills. MSD lacks imagination sometimes specially in overseas tours.

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    No worries friends. It will be on track very soon. Sudden complete changes in playing conditions is the problem Indian players are just facing. But I am sure it will be sorted out very soon. BCCI should think it seriously next time how important some practice games are before tour starts. Looking at Indian batting, atleast I didnt find any lack of attitude or technic about Indian batsmen. Shikhar fearless asusual playing his shots and it is his game. When ball passes over the fielders head to boundry we definately appriciate it. Sometimes it happens just opposite. I m sure in coming time he definately send Steyn & co out of rope. Virat too is playing well. 1 or 2 failures is ok for any batsman. Remember he is a player who scored century at WACA, fastest wicket in the world against OZ pace battery. About Rohit, definately he is doing well, reading attack well. Only a bit luck facter he needs. In first he was runout and in second he was caught brillientely. All three batsmen will rock !!

  • Tahir on December 9, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Still SA bowlers are not at their best as revealed by series against pak at home lately. It is the over confidence of kohli and co which is costing india and the indian bowling is ordinary club level. In a country where jadeja who looks an utter tailender in international cricekt hits tripple centuries then you can imagine what bowling standards prevail in the domestic cricktet.

  • Naresh on December 9, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    SA are in great shape. They have shifted gears since their last ODI's. De Kock and Amla are in great shape. Terrific players - especially AMLA, the Indian batsman need to watch his game - in world cricket I reckon he is number 1 and Pieterson is also up there. Amla can play with soft hands, meets the ball to perfection, and his wrists are just so good. Steyn is just so brillant and the great thing is his pack of fast bowlers support him.

  • mano on December 9, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Yes De Viiellers is a great cricketer. After beating a talking bunch of cricketers he set example for them how a great cricketers should behave in front of media. Had it being the other way round, we would have heard lot of criticism on the opponents that and this on and off the field. AB had shown how the temper of early days cricket.

  • Android on December 9, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    thanks to sympathizers...we need that right hope our players could make a challenge in tests...this team is still one of the best sent to sa.

  • Sriram on December 9, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    Amla is humble and does acknowledge no matter where you play you have win for a long time to be No.1. Often fans forge that India did win a Champions trophy albeit the final, they had a very good run in England with an inexperienced team. SA are too good at home and to win against a bunch of guys that have hardly played against such a high quality bowling unit is no big deal. Pak was wonderful in that series but SA have got thier planning very well for Indians. India's win against Windies, SL and Zim after CT is to be forgotten as fans don't give it any value, and the Aus series win was a fluke coz it was all about flat track bullies. I'm disappointed but not surpirsed with the loss. I hope these youngsters can go back and learn how to play fast bowling, but that cannot happen in Indian domestic cricket. there is neither green track nor such high quality fast bowling.

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