Sri Lanka in SA

SA ready for tough Paarl pitch

2012-01-10 22:15
AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Proteas skipper AB de Villiers is confident they can perform well on a pitch similar to the subcontinent against Sri Lanka in Paarl on Wednesday.

"We've played really good cricket over the last few years in the subcontinent, so I'm pretty confident we will do well tomorrow.

"We'll be going to Paarl a bit earlier to get a feel for the ground. The boys are looking forward to it, though. Obviously it will be a bit hotter out there and the pitch is normally a little bit dry," De Villiers said.

De Villiers feels ready to take over the reins and looks forward to the challenge of leading South Africa.

He was appointed captain of South Africa's one-day and Twenty20 teams last June, but a hand injury kept him out of the matches against Australia earlier this summer.

"I was disappointed to have missed out [against Australia] but it worked out really well for me," said De Villiers.

"I got to watch a few games and witness the strategy from the side of the field, which helped.

"I'm definitely ready now and excited. I know it's not going to be easy but hopefully I will learn and do better as I go along."

De Villiers admitted he was less experienced than former ODI captain Graeme Smith and expected a few blunders along the way, but he would be prepared to experiment.

"You can expect a few more mistakes but I'm not going to be scared to try out new things and express a bit of flair which will hopefully work out well for the team," he said.

"I've played with Graeme and Jacques [Kallis] for many years and they've always helped me out.

"Jacques has helped me with my batting in the past and I know Graeme will be on my shoulder helping me when I do go a little bit wayward."

De Villiers said he would stick to the philosophy which worked best for him and use the same approach to his captaincy.

"I like to keep things simple," he said.

"It's always worked for me in my batting but now I have a whole team to think about.

"I like it that way - I like to take the focus off myself and put everything into the team."

While the Proteas needed to switch from a Test to a one-day mind-set, De Villiers said the squad had played enough cricket to adjust to the different conditions and to the change in format.

Although they opted to train at Newlands in the build-up to the opening match, the Proteas were looking forward to playing in Paarl where the conditions were hotter and the pitch was expected to be drier.

The final team would only be decided on Tuesday evening and the skipper's batting position was not yet fixed.

"I might be floating a bit but I'm looking to batting at four," De Villiers said.

"I've scored a lot of runs there and would like to bat there but we're not going to be one-dimensional about it.

"I will do whatever is best for the team, so if I have to bat at five or three then that's what will happen."

He said he would continue to keep wicket in the one-day format, and did not foresee it as a problem.

"It's not a short-term thing. We'll stick with it for a while and it opens up a spot or two in the team.

"You've got a very good view of the game from behind the stumps.

"If I get a good thing going with the bowlers, then it shouldn't be a problem, but luckily we've got Graeme and Jacques who can also get the message across to them for me.

"I'm prepared to give everything to the team, and if I make mistakes, I will do better next time."

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