SA eager to shed 'chokers' tag

2013-05-08 16:19
AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Proteas captain AB de Villiers believes South Africa can remove their "chokers" tag and secure their first global trophy in 15 years at the Champions Trophy tournament in England and Wales next month.

South Africa won the inaugural Champions Trophy - then known as the Knockout Trophy - in 1998, and while they have since reached the semi-finals in three editions of the competition, as well as the last four in three World Cup tournaments, they have failed to secure a title.

"There is always extra pressure when it comes to our performances at ICC (International Cricket Council) tournaments," De Villiers said on Wednesday.

"Our performances have not been a true reflection of the talent and skill that we possess, and this year we will be out to change that.

"We will always have this monkey on our back until we win the competition, so hopefully this time around we will be able to overcome the pressure."

The Proteas are in Group B alongside world champions India, World Twenty20 title holders West Indies, and Pakistan.

"I personally think every opponent in our group is a threat," De Villiers said.

"Our recent 3-2 win over Pakistan only highlighted the threat they can pose in the limited-overs format, and India and West Indies can both be destructive if they arrive on the day.

"We are going to have to start strong in our opening match against India at the Cardiff Wales Stadium and hopefully use the momentum for the extra advantage through the group stages."

While he singled out some key players they would need to watch from other teams, including Chris Gayle of the West Indies and India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni, De Villiers was confident his side could challenge for top honours.

"I think if we can collectively take the confidence and momentum we gained during our series win over Pakistan, any player in our squad can win the game for us on the day," the skipper said.

"We have a balanced makeup of experience and youth in our squad. I think that will be to our advantage in the competition."


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