ODI captain AB de Villiers says he has more faith in his ability to lead following a string of good results.
After claiming a 2-1 ODI series win in Sri Lanka, the world’s No 1 batsman spoke of the confidence he has gained as skipper of the side after an uncertain period in charge after taking over from Graeme Smith.
‘I think it’s natural for a new captain coming in, especially following in the footsteps of someone like Graeme, to doubt yourself a little bit,’ he said.
‘Getting to know my players better has played a huge role in helping my confidence grow in the last while,’ he added. ‘I know now which guys to rely on in pressure situations; which guys to strike with. I feel comfortable with that stuff at the moment.’
De Villiers went on to describe how the stability in the side has allowed him to rely on certain players, compared to the situation under Gary Kirsten, where a rotation system was used in the format. ‘There’s a great understanding of roles in the team. Each guy know’s what’s expected of him. I’ve also got the respect of the team, which makes it a lot easier.’
Since losing the ODI series 4-1 to Sri Lanka last July, the side has experienced a period of success, claiming series wins over Pakistan (away), India (home) and now Sri Lanka (away).
It’s a positive trend, particularly in light of the fact that the ODI World Cup is now just seven months away. De Villiers feels his side are on the right track ahead of the showpiece event. ‘I don’t think you’ll ever be perfectly ready for a World Cup, but I’m comfortable with where we are as a team at the moment,’ he said, before cautioning that the side is not 100% yet.
‘There are lots of areas where we can improve, especially in the field. I feel we’re not the strongest fielding team in the world, and we’ve got seven months leading up to the World Cup to fix that.’
The Proteas next face Zimbabwe in a three-ODI series in August, before taking part in a triangular ODI series with Zimbabwe and Australia at the end of August and beginning of September.
Photo: Anne Laing/ HSM Images