Proteas batsman AB de Villiers is encouraged by the new talent coming through the domestic system, as the Blue Label Telecoms squad prepares for the first KFC T20 International against Pakistan at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Friday. The squad features a solid mixture of youth and experience, with domestic players receiving the rewards for consistent performances.
“It is a nice way of giving youngsters a chance to perform and to showcase their talent,” he said of the young T20 outfit. “I definitely see why we are doing that, there are so many youngsters that have come through that have won games for their domestic teams on a regular basis.”
Pakistan poses a different threat with the white ball, and will be confident after winning the previous encounter between the two nations at the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka last year. Knowledge of the conditions and the exuberant talent in the squad will count in South Africa’s favour, at a venue where they recently thrashed New Zealand by eight wickets.
“I have seen the names in their T20 squad and there are some serious cricketers out there,” De Villiers said. “We are playing in our home conditions so we have some confidence from that but they are a dangerous side.
“They don’t only have world-class players but they have experience as well. They have won World Cups before; they are a really good team and I think they will be a good challenge for us.”
The former T20 captain plays in all three formats for South Africa, and admitted he has struggled to find his way around T20 Internationals. He has only played six T20 internationaIs, excluding the ICC World Twenty20, since 2011 and is focusing on working out his role in this shortened version of the game.
“I still haven’t found my rhythm in T20 cricket for South Africa,” he said. “I feel we haven’t played a lot, so it’s difficult to find your way when we play one or two matches in a series then three or four months down the line you play another one, it’s difficult to find the rhythm, especially with the captaincy.”
He was, however, optimistic about the future and, with the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh just over a year away, says the main challenge for the group is to “get a feeling for each other” and to form the same consistency in selection similar to the Test team.
“The squad we have now will not change too much over the next 12 months,” he added. “If we play a lot of cricket together the results will start to show.”