SA in New Zealand
Start of an era for Proteas
Wellington - The seven-month preparation process for the Proteas’ T20 International squad starts on Friday with the first T20I against New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium here.
This is the first of 11 T20I’s before the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka in September, and is the squad’s first litmus test ahead of an important year for the T20I outfit.
“I’m expecting to see a lot of these faces there (ICC World Twenty20),” commented captain AB de Villiers. “A definite part of the plan is to get these boys ready for the big tournament later on in the year.
“Yesterday(Wednesday) was exactly what we needed, we were tested in all three departments of the game - fielding, batting and bowling - so we are ready to go into the series tomorrow (Friday).”
The ICC T20I Rankings were recently launched, and New Zealand are currently ranked second above the fourth-placed Proteas. If De Villiers and his troops win the series they will move to No 2. However, the focus for the squad is process driven and centred around executing their skills when the moment requires it.
“To be very honest, no, I didn’t even know that we are going to go up to No 2 if we win the series. We have our processes in place, we have bigger goals like the World Cup and so on but obviously it is a huge series for us, we would love to win it but the rankings are definitely not something we look at, not for now.”
The match is not only special because it marks De Villiers’ first match as the T20I captain, but it is also his 28th birthday, an occasion that will hopefully be a memorable one.
“I like to keep things fresh and on the move. I don’t like to get too one dimensional and predictable, I think that it’s important in this format of the game to keep the guys on their toes and to keep the opposition guessing. That is the way that I like to captain. I normally like to visualise myself batting at that specific moment when I’m captaining the fielders and try to figure out what would be difficult for me to bat against.”