The Castle Lager Proteas’ 4-1 series win against Pakistan has been an encouraging sign of the progress the squad has made following a difficult year for the ODI unit. The Proteas have shown a marked improvement in their last three matches, and closed off the series with an all-round performance where all three departments clicked into gear.
“We haven’t won a World Cup tonight,” a modest AB de Villiers said after the match. “But we have definitely made a step in the right direction. As captain, it’s always nice to move forward. We hit a big low against Sri Lanka and moving up from there is pleasing to me and the coaching staff.”
His innings of 115 off 102 balls capped of a successful series for De Villiers, who excelled with key decision-making under pressure as captain. The skipper praised the way his players “responded” to his leadership on the field, and feels he has settled comfortably into the role.
“I’ m always learning, “De Villiers, who has captained 35 matches, said. “ Every single game that I play as a captain and as a player I’m always learning. I don’t think I will ever be the perfect player. I have made some good yards in the right direction with my captaincy but I have to give credit to the guys and how they responded. “
The individual and team performances this series have also been an encouraging indication of the depth in the current ODI set-up.
“It is promising and great to see,” he said of the depth. “We are still missing the likes of Kallis who is at home; Smith who is injured and Dale and Morne sitting out today. To see the depth coming through, guys performing from the word go, is great. The whole team did well; I look forward to what is lying ahead for this team.”
Ryan McLaren was rewarded for an outstanding performance with both bat and ball to take the Man of the Series award. A delighted McLaren said the team had learnt some hard lessons from the tour against Sri Lanka, and can still improve ahead of the ODI series against Pakistan starting in South Africa next week.