A mature AB de Villiers starts the most important journey of his captaincy career when he leads the Proteas in their opening match of the World Cup against Zimbabwe at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Sunday.
De Villiers becomes the fifth South African to lead South Africa at an ICC Cricket World Cup, a privilege and honour he has deemed as one of the highlights of his career.
‘It’s been a rocky road,’ De Villiers admitted to the media in Hamilton on Saturday. ‘I remember being all over the place when I started off, I think it’s pretty normal.
‘It was the same with my career and batting, I remember I had no idea, I don’t know how I survived the first three to five years of my career.’
One of the 30-year-old’s stand-out characteristics as a leader has been the ability to lead from the front. He enters the tournament as the No1-ranked ODI batsman and as one of the in-form players, coupled with an impressive average of 66.72 in his 60 matches as captain.
‘It’s a whole different ball game now, you sort of get used to what works for you and what doesn’t, you get to know your own game,’ he said. ‘I got to know my captaincy game a lot better over the last while. I feel I have more time, make better decisions, I still get it wrong every once in a while like every player does. It’s been a good ride and hopefully we’ll finish on a good note.’
The skipper says the long build-up since their arrival in New Zealand 10 days ago was necessary and timed to perfection, and feels the camp is in a motivated mood ahead of his third World Cup.
‘Like any other tournament I think our chances are good,’ he said. ‘We are in a good space as a team which always bodes well for a side. I feel we are comfortable with where we’re at and we enjoy each other’s company. It’s the little things that I feel are in a good place at the moment.
‘We are not getting ahead of ourselves, we are not thinking of the trophy at the moment, we do know that we can win it. We also know that there are a lot of obstacles along the way that we will need to overcome. It will come down to those pressure moments in every game and we are excited to give it a good go.’
Farhaan Behardien was put through a fitness test on Saturday afternoon and a late call on his availability will be made on Sunday morning.
‘I’m not 100 percent sure at the moment, we are still testing him out,’ De Villiers admitted. ‘He had a good bat today, as we speak he is going through his bowling fitness test. It will be a case of having a look tomorrow morning. We obviously want to play him, it’s an important position for us, but if he doesn’t we will make a plan.’