Cape Town - The five-match One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand
will be an opportunity for the Proteas to fine-tune their playing
blueprint ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in June.
The Proteas have stacked
up 11 consecutive ODI wins since September, and will be aiming to extend the
record in the first match at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.
Proteas ODI captain, AB de Villiers, says although the squad isn’t
looking too far ahead to the ICC showpiece, the series against a quality New
Zealand side will be a key test for the squad in conditions similar to what can
be expected in the UK.
“It’s definitely a build-up towards the Champions Trophy,” he said of
“It’s a big goal of ours to go to the tournament and to do well,
not just do well, to hopefully win it. We know there is a long way to go for us
to get there and this is a great stepping stone for us to get ready for the
“The conditions are pretty similar (to the UK). The ball moves around a
bit when it’s new and you have to extend your partnerships once you get in,
it’s very similar to the UK I think. There is no better team than New Zealand
to test your skill against.”
De Villiers expects to follow with the same positive attitude shown
under the leadership of Faf du Plessis in the 78-run win in the one-off T20
International on Friday, which should be a seamless transition with the
selectors retaining the same squad for the ODI series.
Dwaine Pretorius will
join the squad for the second ODI in Christchurch on Wednesday in the place of
Dane Paterson, after missing the first week of the tour to be at the birth of
his first child.
“Faf and I are very similar in the way that we play our game, even
though it looks completely different when we are batting,” De Villiers said.
“We grew up together and are both competitive. I truly believe we will take the
same attitude from last night into the ODI series. The same kind of energy and
passion that we played with last night, I will definitely be leading that. I
have a lot of senior players around me to help me with that.
“There is a great feel in the team, especially after last night’s win,”
he explained. “It was vital for us to start well. It doesn’t guarantee us any
success in the ODI series, we know that, but it was a good start, we have a
good feel going into this series.”
The match is scheduled to start at 03:00 (SA time).