Castle Lager Proteas ODI captain, AB de Villiers, has stressed the importance of starting well in the first ODI against Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. The tour has made a quick turnaround in formats with both teams eager not to fall behind the eight-ball early on.
“We haven’t had much time to prepare so it’s up to us to prepare mentally as best as we can,” De Villiers said in Sharjah on Tuesday. “We have to hit the ground running here, we are away from home and it’s important to start well. It will be important for us to adapt as quickly as possible tomorrow, get used to the conditions and understand the Pakistan team we will be playing. We need to attack them in areas where they are not as strong.”
De Villiers feels the Test team’s winning momentum could be to his team’s advantage, but remains mindful of Pakistan’s prowess in the shortened format. The majority of the squad would have experienced conditions at the stadium during the three-day warm-up match against Pakistan A earlier this month, and will need to adapt as quickly as possible.
“It is a completely different format but we still take a bit of confidence from that win,” De Villiers responded. “The series was drawn so it’s still even but there is a sense that we are getting used to the conditions; playing in the UAE is different to playing back home. Winning a Test match here comprehensively plays a role; we will take some confidence from that.”
“The ODI squad has a different look,” he added. “We haven’t played well of late, especially in Sri Lanka, but we beat Pakistan in South Africa not too long ago so that will also give us some confidence.”
The Proteas hold a slender 3-2 lead in the head-to-head count at the 17 000-seater stadium, and last played an ODI there against Pakistan in 2000 where they lost by 16 runs. They have won eight out of 10 matches played at the venue.