Cape Town - AB de Villiers returns to
play his first home T20 match in over a year in the opening T20 International against New Zealand at Kingsmead on Friday.
Villiers missed the One Day International and Test series against Bangladesh
last month and will partner with Hashim Amla at the top of the order in a move
Faf du Plessis says will be a “good combination” as they “complement each other
De Villiers last played a
T20 at home against Australia in March 2014 and seems refreshed and energised
after his paternity leave.
“It’s great to have AB back
after a nice rest, ” Du Plessis said on Thursday.
“From a team perspective
having AB back is fantastic. He is a great leader and fantastic player, any
team would be extremely happy to have him.”
“It’s important that we stick
to what we want to achieve with our combinations,” he explained when asked
“Putting AB at the top is a conscious change we made
leading up to the World Cup. You want to give your most explosive and best
player a crack at getting in early and scoring runs, that is something we will
stick with even though the conditions here will probably suggest otherwise.”
Du Plessis says it’s
fantastic to be back playing in front of the home fans at the revamped Kingsmead following their 2-0 series win against Bangladesh last month.
He insists winning remains the only objective for the squad, despite the selection
of a relatively inexperienced squad.
“Leading up to the World Cup,
winning games is extremely important,” he admitted.
“You want to get there
with confidence and having most of your boxes ticked, especially in a short
tournament like that. People may look at these games as an opportunity to give
guys chances but for me it’s extremely important as we build up to the
The captain says the nature
of T20 cricket leaves small margins between respective international teams and
thorough preparation has been vital for a Black Caps side brimming with big
“I’ve played a lot of cricket to understand that
even if you play cricket against a team ranked ninth or 10th, in T20 cricket
anything is possible,” he said.
“They are missing quite a few players but the
guys that are here are high quality cricketers. With T20 cricket you don’t need
as many players in your team to perform because it’s so short. If you look at
players like Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson who are in great form, they are
big players for them. Their bowling attack will be guys who have played
international cricket; McClenaghan, Milne and Henry are their frontline
seamers, so for me it’s going to be a tough test for us.”