• Vernon in for Abbott?

    AB de Villiers has admitted the selectors face a difficult task in selecting the right team for South Africa’s semi-final showdown with New Zealand on Tuesday.

    De Villiers confirmed at the pre-match press conference that all the players in the squad were fit and ready to go.

    Arguably the biggest debate will be whether or not to bring back Vernon Philander in the place of Kyle Abbott, who has performed well every time he’s been picked to play.

    The conditions of the Eden Park pitch will undoubtedly play a role in the decision, but a decision will probably only be made on the morning of the game.

    ‘Yeah, a difficult selection for us, said De Villiers. ‘Well, the whole squad is ready to go, and there are a few boys that have put up their hands in the World Cup, so it’s difficult. It’s really difficult, especially after a win like the last one.

    ‘It’s tough to change the squad and the team that played. But we might have to have a look at a couple of combinations, a couple of possibilities that might strengthen our team. Obviously ideally I would have liked to have turned out our team before the game, but yeah, we’re pretty confident with our thinking process at the moment.’

    De Villiers said he and other players who have played in previous World Cups haven’t changed anything this time around.

    ‘No, not at all. I’ve had that question a few times coming into the World Cup, what are we going to do different, what’s different about this team,’ said De Villiers.

    ‘There’s absolutely nothing different except for we’ve played some good cricket in the last few years. We’ve been working towards this World Cup, and working towards a game like tomorrow for a few years now. We’re just very ready.

    ‘We’re going to do what we believe are the right things to win tomorrow’s game, and that’s all we can focus on, and we’re not going to try and do anything different. We’re going to make sure we play a good game of cricket, and like I said, if we do that, we’ll come out on top.’

    New Zealand reached the semi-finals after another convincing performance in the quarters where they thrashed the West Indies, but according to De Villiers they haven’t paid too much attention to the opposition.

    ‘It’s silly to focus too much on the cricket they’ve played because they’ve played really well,’ he said.

    ‘But not only that, I personally don’t like to focus too much on the opposition. I’ve mentioned that in a few pressers before, that I believe that if we play to our full potential that nobody is going to stop us in this tournament.┬áIt’s more important for me to get the guys in a good space to make sure they’re confident mentally and they’re fresh physically.

    ‘I know the guys are up for tomorrow. Same with the quarter-finals. I’ll have a little look about what they’re feeling when we get to the ground. At warm-ups you normally get a good indication of where the guys are at, and then the right words will be said in that little huddle. I know all 15 players well, all 30 of us who are here will be up for tomorrow.’

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