Champions Trophy 2013

AB de Villiers predicts silverware for South Africa

Firdose Moonda

May 30, 2013

Comments: 70 | Text size: A | A

AB de Villiers pushes one through the leg side, South Africa v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Durban, March 21, 2013
AB de Villers said South Africa are in line to win ICC trophies © Getty Images

AB de Villiers has predicted a stream of South African success at major tournaments, which he hopes will start next month. The ODI captain did not remember that his countrymen captured the inaugural Champions Trophy but is confident they can claim the last and many others after that.

"We haven't won an ICC trophy yet even though we are the No.1 Test team in the world but I've got a feeling there are a few to come in the next few years" he told Dutch radio NOS in Amsterdam, where the South African squad have set up camp. "We are just going to have to wait patiently. We are doing the small things right. The work ethic is there, the talent is there and the belief is there, so we've just got to go out there and give it our best shot."

De Villiers is the first member of the South Africa group to make public the team's real expectations of the Champions Trophy, after Gary Kirsten played down their chances on their departure. As suspected, South Africa have every intention of discarding their chokers' tag in England and are feeling the heat as the event gets closer.

"There is always some pressure," de Villiers said. "We are a very talented cricketing nation and we understand there are some responsibilities in performance. We would love to say we are just going to go and enjoy it but it's more complicated than that. We've got to win some big games and we would love to win the trophy. I think we are preparing in the right way."

In an attempt to replicate the success on last year's Test tour of England, when South Africa claimed the Test championship mace, Kirsten has taken the squad to Amsterdam. They met up with explorer Mike Horn and did a cycle and canoe tour of the city before getting down to the business of net sessions.

Wet weather has not dampened South Africa's plans. Despite 42mm of rain falling on Wednesday night, the groundstaff was able to dry the surface sufficiently for practice to get under way as planned at 10am on Thursday. That was the last training session before an ODI against the Netherlands tomorrow, the first of two warm-up matches before the tournament starts.

The fixture against the Netherlands is a particularly important one because it will be the first time in 67 days that South Africa will take the field as a team. It will also be the first opportunity for nine of their squad to get game time after a break of almost two months.

JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis (both because of injury), Rory Kleinveldt, Hashim Amla, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Farhaan Behardien, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Colin Ingram have not played any cricket since the end of the South African season. The rest will be relied on to bring "match intensity," Kirsten said. De Villiers, David Miller, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Ryan McLaren were in action at the IPL and while Alviro Petersen played in England.

While much of the focus has been on the batsmen, and the middle order in particular, South Africa will also want their quicks to find their rhythm quickly. Both Kleinveldt and Peterson expect the tournament to be more of a bowler-headlined spectacle because of the time of year, the conditions and the opposition.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there are a few low scoring games," Kleinveldt said. "I watched the Test and saw Jimmy Anderson swinging it. There should be plenty for the bowlers."

And Peterson believes South Africa's bowlers in particular will benefit. "Dale and Morne looked really impressive in the IPL." he said. "With two new white balls and India and West Indies in our group, we can do well. Their batting line-ups tend to dominate more on subcontinental surfaces."

Steyn and Morkel may be rested for the Holland match so South Africa can ensure all parts of their machine are working as they should be before they head to England. But they also know they will not be able to get away with a below-par performance against a much lower-ranked team.

They've done their homework on the Dutch. Netherlands batsman Stephan Myburgh is a former schoolmate of de Villiers' and the brother of Johann Myburgh, who played for the Titans in South Africa before moving to New Zealand.

"I know Stephan from the age of nine," de Villiers said. "I am very happy for him that he got his chance to play international cricket, I am very proud of the fact that he did that because I know that was always a dream of his. He probably didn't get his break in South Africa and he couldn't find a way into the Titans.

"He was quite young when he took a chance to come over here and saw opportunity to play international cricket and took it with both hands. You've got to do what you've got to do," he said. "Back home competition is quite tough and he just didn't get his chance when he was young. You never know, if he stuck it out for a few more years… but he will be proud of the fact that he is playing international cricket and I am proud he has achieved that."

Coming up against a former countryman who has crossed borders is not new to South Africa and it has ensured they see familiar faces almost everywhere they go. That may be one of the reasons de Villiers said the squad "could not have asked for a better place to prepare before the big tournament." Next week will be an opportunity for them to show whether the effort paid off.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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Posted by   on (June 2, 2013, 18:26 GMT)

SA cannot win since they do not have versatile players except Ab De Villiers. South African cricket is known for producing 'robot' like cricketers who cannot cope up when confronted with outstanding flair. That is the reason they often fail in ODIs , where a few overs of mayhem of subcontinental or West Indian flair would be enough to floor them. In tests they can always play the waiting game but in the shorter versions they have choked more often than not and my fear is that this time too it will be the same.

Posted by Harmony111 on (June 2, 2013, 16:09 GMT)

@George Matt: You are mentioning one series or one title here and there while I am talking about the whole career stats. If I too were to use the same logic as yours then forget about what Kallis has done in the last 3-4 years, his latest stats for IPL 2013 are a SR of 96 - in T20 matches !!!

I don't need to say anything else.

Posted by   on (June 2, 2013, 12:27 GMT)

South Africa won the ICC knock out trophy..Kallis was the man of the match of the semi final+final and also the man of the tournament... South Africa won in India in 2000,Kallis was the player of the series South Africa won in Pakistan in 2007,Kallis was the man of the match in both tests and also the man of the series...I think to win in subcontinent is the pinnacle of glory for non-asian teams and Kallis lead South Africa's victory in those two series...Add the fact that South Africa have won only one major trophy and that too due to Kallis just explains his value..his strike rate was low in his early years because his job was to make sure that the team bats 50 overs,because South Africa has always had an unstable and shaky middle order,check out his numbers in last 3-4 years, now he knows that there are guys like Amla,Ab who can take responsibility,so he often plays aggresively...honestly people should get a life,dunno for what reason they keep blaming Kallis

Posted by Harmony111 on (June 1, 2013, 21:52 GMT)

@Keith Waters: I ran out of words when I mentioned that WC 07 match. My point was that even in an extremely crucial match Kallis batted with no sense of purpose. In this years IPL too (as in the prev ones), Kallis was responsible on many occasions to kill KKR's momentum. SRT too was criticized for batting slowly even though his SR was ~125 so think about Kallis whose SR this time was 96 !!!

Moreover, I DID NOT pick one bad performance and generalized it for Kallis. I'd also said that his overall SR of 72 was poor and used that as my basis, pls read again.

Btw, I like Kallis. This all began when GG used JK's CT stats to rebut what SamRoy had said about Kalli's overall ODI career. That's it.

Reg Bevan, I really had no idea his SR was 74. Sounds imp. I think there may be some reasons, may be he had a very poor initial few years or he used to have several failures inter alia a few good knocks and ppl used to see from maxima to maxima.

Ref your 16:50 comment - See my 12:34 comment.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2013, 17:44 GMT)

Kallis is original TUK TUK.He was instrumental in famous chokes because he is too slow.1999 World Cup Semi final,Champions trophy 2002 Semi Final,2003 world cup game againt Srilanka,2009 T20 Semi Final against Pakistan are prime examples.Even in the record 434 game his slow approach increased the run rate to quite an extent.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

@Harmony111 taking one of Kallis's games and using that to support an argument that he is a bad player is pointless thats like someone taking Bradman'ss last innings and suggesting the guy couldnt bat!

Why not look at the fact that he has the same amount of Man of the Matches as ricky ponting (3rd on the list) in 54 games less!

Michael Bevan had a SR of 74 are you saying that he was a poor ODI batsmen?

Kallis is a fantastic player and there is no team in world cricket at the moment who would say no thanks Kallis we don't require your services!

Posted by Harmony111 on (June 1, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

@Greatest_Game: Wow, you are an expert at missing the point. Your reply to SamRoy was just as misplaced as your new reply to my comment.

Your so called rebuttal suffers from the fallacy of thinking that co-relation implies causation. Just because Kallis has played X matches out of SA's total Z matches and something has been observed in those X matches via-a-vis the Z-X matches, it does not NECESSARILY mean that Kallis was the factor behind that observed phenomenon.

To see how much has Kallis contributed in this observed phenomena of SA's better W/L ratio, we need to look into Kallis's performance itself. Regarding that, I had already given the most damning piece of stat - his abysmal SR in ODIs.

Anyone who scores at ~72 in ODI has to be called a poor batsman. Cynical ones will call it selfish batting or "batting unaware".

Rem WC 2007 SF vs Aus? Who ate the momentum of SA's fab chase?

Sorry GG, your "enough" rebuttal was invalid from the outset, let alone being enough.

Posted by   on (June 1, 2013, 8:27 GMT)

@Greatest Game, do you not think that South Africa has underachieved at ODI level over the last 6-7 years? Fair enough before that Aus had two all time great bowlers who could defend anything but since then i'd have thought SA might have done a little better?

For mine the West Indies and SL are real dark horses in this tourney, both teams have some good seam bowling allrounders that can hit the ball, strength in this area will be key, I think. Matthews, Perera, Bravo, Sammy look tailor made for this tourney.

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