South Africa are all set to take on India in the all important virtual qualifier of ICC Champions Trophy 2017 on Sunday at The Oval. The winner of this encounter will march their way in the semi-final stage while the loser will have to bow out of the tournament. In the pre-match press conference, South African skipper AB de Villiers revealed about his side’s plans and the way in which they will pursue the game against India.
“Definitely, that’s the way we have been successful throughout the year. We really clear about what is necessary and needed for us to go out there and win. So I think the guys generally perform better if they are all relaxed in their mind sets and not too tensed. That is my responsibility to make sure there is no panic, eve if it is a must win game but we have played i last 12-18 months and we have had quite a lot of success in those must win games. So pretty much similar to what we have been doing in the last 12 months and same kind of approach for tomorrow’s game as well,” he said.
Talking about the changes in playing XI, De Villiers emphasised on taking a look at The Oval’s track prior deciding the playing combination for his team.
“We will have a chat in the field when we go out there to practice. We will have the look at wickets. We have world class players in the side so we will have a look at what’s the best XI for us for tomorrow against India. We haven’t decided yet,” the skipper added.
The right-handed batsman hasn’t really tasted success in this edition of Champions Trophy. He has scores of 4 and a golden duck to his name in two matches but when asked about his own form, De Villiers looked pretty optimistic about his batting and insisted that he would be looking to bounce back with the bat as well.
“Scored a few runs not nothing but not enough. I am still in good form, still hitting the ball well and it’s the matter of going out there and doing it. I still believe I can and hopefully I prove that tomorrow. I am very excited for this opportunity for my team and for myself to go on a big stage to go and enjoy the cricket and each other’s company out there. We are very excited about tomorrow,” de Villiers told.
Mentioning about Indian batting, De Villiers revealed that South African bowling unit have set plans for all Indian batsmen.
“I don’t think guys have been predictable. The grounds are different so it’s important for us to find perfect length. We have set plans for all the Indian batters and we will go out there and play them well tomorrow. But the experience we have in the side we will find the right kind of length and information to be successful tomorrow,” he told.
The clash between South Africa and India is a do-or-die one for both the sides. Talking about the situation, De Villiers looked positive of the scenario and he further added that the Proteas have been in similar situation previously and come out with some fruitful results.
“I think it’s really important to stay calm and not to get over excited. We all live for such kind of moments and that’s why we play cricket on big stage against big countries and tomorrow is one of those games. It’s important for us to understand why we have been successful for the last 12 months. We played with energy in both the games. I feel the guys were really hungry to succeed, unfortunately we were stuck in the last game but I’m still expecting the same kind of intensity and hunger out there tomorrow but with a relaxed kind of mind frame and I will try to lead from the front,” de Villiers insisted.
When asked about his counterpart Virat Kohli’s batting and playing ability, the South African heaped praises about the Indian captain and mentioned about Kohli’s ability to take away the game single-handed against any opposition o his day.
“He is a world class player and it’s difficult to stop when he gets going. Our players would be around to unsettle him early in his innings like any other world class batsman and will look to get him out early. He does it really well when he gets going. He can really take the game away from you. We have played together for quite a few years for Bangalore and I respect him more of the field. He is a really good guy and I love the way he plays cricket, it’s really competitive. He like to come on top. I have a lot of respect for Virat like I said on and off the field,” the RCB batsman told.
R Ashwin has been warming benches for India so far in the competition but the South African captain told that he is expecting the off-spinner’s return in the playing XI and his batsmen are preparing to face him.
“It depends upon the conditions and I am expecting to see him in the team tomorrow so we are preparing to see him in the side and if it doesn’t happen so be it. We prefer of not playing against him. He is a great bowler, he has been successful against us. But that’s up to them to decide and if he is in the team we will try to play well against him,”de Villiers said about Ashwin.
Talking about his own captaincy, de Villiers expressed his satisfaction. “I think my captaincy is pretty good. I have thoroughly enjoyed every second out there. We did lost the last game and that’s never ideal for a captain but I understand what I am trying to do out there and I really enjoy the captaincy. I think I have made some good calls but can’t control what you gonna write but in my mind I am a good captain,” he replied.