Australia in SA

AB won't 'change much'

2009-03-25 17:31
Raring to go (Gallo)
Johannesburg - After watching AB de Villiers tear into the Australian bowling in the third Test at Newlands, it will probably come as no surprise to hear the talented batsman say he will not change much in terms of his approach for the two Pro20 internationals against the visitors this weekend in Johannesburg and Centurion.

De Villiers' golden run of form over the last two years is not down to any major technical change, although he is concentrating on being still at the crease, but rather a quantum leap in his mental approach.

And he said on Wednesday that making the adaptation from five-day cricket to the 20-over game would be no hassle.

"At this level we're all professional enough to make the change. I'll still bat the same way, use the same technique, I'll just be more positive and try to hit a few more boundaries earlier on," De Villiers said.

The 25-year-old said he was especially excited that the Indian Premier League (IPL) will now be played in South Africa.

"I'm very happy the IPL will be played here, it's a great show of faith in our ability to host major events. I still hear people walking around saying they doubt whether we can stage a successful 2010 soccer world cup, but the fact that the IPL called on us to stage their tournament at short notice shows that we can," De Villiers said.

Despite South Africa having won just nine of the 16 Pro20 internationals they have played, De Villiers said the team did not find the shortest format of the game a daunting prospect.

"I don't think our record's that bad and a lot of our inconsistency is down to the nature of the game, you can lose at any time. It's not like test cricket where you play for five days and it's more about your skills; in Pro20, if one player comes off it can kill you."

A short while before De Villiers spoke to the media, South Africa captain Graeme Smith was able to lift the ICC ODI Championship shield and pocket a cheque for $175 000 as the Proteas will be number one on the rankings on the yearly cut-off date of April 1.

Ricky Ponting was able to lift the ICC Test Championship Mace at the same presentation, with South Africa's recent series loss to the Australians on home soil relegating them to second place.

The South Africans did bounce back with a superb innings victory in the third Test at Newlands but Smith said this was almost embarrassing as it only served to highlight how far off their best they had been in the first two tests in Johannesburg and Durban.

"In Cape Town we were able to execute our plans which we were never quite able to do well enough as a unit in the first two tests. Australia did and they deserved to win the series. It was disappointing that in the first two tests we were a bit off the boil and it cost us the series because Australia were very motivated. It was nice to see us get back to the type of cricket we know we can play in Cape Town and we saw the success that came from that," Smith said.

With the Newlands result proving how evenly matched the two teams are, Johannesburg cricket fans are understandably licking their lips at the prospect of another titanic clash between the two giants of the world game.

De Villiers left no doubt that the South Africans will be sweating blood to ensure victory so as not to cause a stink for the sell-out crowd.

"Pro20 is not just a hit-around anymore, there's a world cup around the corner and we are all taking it more seriously. There's a lot of pride and passion involved and the mood is pretty similar in the change room if you lose a Test or a 20/20 game.

"We're still working towards a brand of play in Pro20 cricket, we're not yet there but we're going to press on with it," De Villiers said.

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