AB de Villiers will captain South Africa in the Champions Trophy. (Source: Reuters)
Despite a series loss to England just before the big tournament, South Africa captain AB de Villiers is happy with his team’s preparations for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 that begins on June 1 in England. South Africa lost the three-match one-day international series to England 2-1 after two closes match went the hosts’ way while they were humbled in the final game.
In the third ODI, England were reduced to 22 for the loss of six wickets by South Africa after some fiery pace bowling from Kagiso Rabada. This showed that bowlers can dominate the Champions Trophy. No team can take the conditions in England for granted including the hosts who begin their campaign against Bangladesh on Thursday.
De Villiers did admit that the series loss to England wasn’t ideal for South Africa but said that there were many encouraging signs.
“I was pretty happy with our preparations for the Champions Trophy, although obviously you don’t want to lose a series that you play in,” De Villiers said. “But I know that we finished on a high, and there were encouraging signs throughout the series and those are the kind of things we like to focus on. We’re still ranked the No.1 team in the world going into the tournament, so there are quite a few reasons for us to be confident, but we’re still humbled at the same time and know that we have to work hard and take it one step at a time to win this.”
The world number one bowler said that anything can happen in one-day cricket and especially in a tournament like Champions Trophy.
“Anything can happen on the day in one-day cricket, that’s a fact, and especially with a tournament like the ICC Champions Trophy. When the world’s top eight teams are competing for one trophy, it’s going to be very competitive. I’m sure there will be some close games, and I guess whichever team takes their opportunities the most will come out on top,” he said.
South will play their first game of the tournament against Sri Lanka on Saturday at The Oval and the captain said that it is important to get off to a good start.
“It’s vital that we get off to a good start. There is not a lot of time in this tournament to bounce back, it’s very short with only a few games before the knockout,” he said. “I think we can expect to see more of what we have been seeing over the last year from South Africa in this tournament – a brave brand of cricket.”