AB de Villiers faced the New Zealand media on Wednesday and they got what they wanted to hear: he reckoned the co-hosts New Zealand are among the favourites to win next year’s Cricket World Cup.
De Villiers told a news conference on his team’s arrival in New Zealand for a series of three one-day internationals, that familiarity with local conditions would make New Zealand hard to beat.
He told reporters: ‘I’d call them one of the favourites. We know what they’re capable of, and especially in these kind of conditions. They must be very motivated to do well.
The series between New Zealand and South Africa begins next Tuesday in Tauranga. South Africa won 3-0 when the teams last played a one-day series in New Zealand but New Zealand beat the Proteas in South Africa last year.
De Villiers had earlier told media that the one area where South Africa needed to up their game was in the field. ‘We had a few meetings in Zimbabwe about fielding and we talked about it at length. It’s not about the basics – it’s about turning games around and doing special stuff that I see other teams do. I don’t believe that we are in the top two fielding teams in the world and you need that at a World Cup.’
Speaking on the make-up of the Proteas squad in New Zealand, before they go on to Australia, the Proteas captain said: ‘We’re still not 100 percent sure of who is going to the World Cup. There is time left for one or two of the guys to put theirs hands up. I can’t see five to seven changes to the current squad, bout there is certainly a spot or two up for grabs. There is always an opportunity to put your hand up and show what you are made of.’