De Villiers claims England are among Champions Trophy favourites
South Africa star AB de Villiers believes England will be serious contenders for the ICC Champions Trophy.
Beating hosts England in a pre-tournament warm-up series would be ideal preparation for South Africa's assault on the ICC Champions Trophy, according to AB de Villiers.
The Proteas face England in three one-day internationals, starting at Headingley on Wednesday, before the quadrennial 50-over competition begins next month.
Eoin Morgan's side have impressed with the white ball of late, winning five of six ODI series since losing 3-2 in South Africa in February 2016.
"We want to win the series against England, a team that's been playing very good one-day cricket in their own country," De Villiers told journalists in Sussex.
"They've done really well to come back from the 2015 World Cup," he added, referring to a chastening exit from Pool A in Australia two years ago.
"They're obviously a very talented bunch, and they've earned a lot of respect.
"They will be one of the favourites for the Champions Trophy definitely, but quite a few teams stand out – India won the last Champions Trophy, and the Aussies are always a team to look out for."
De Villiers has been taking time out from Test cricket and, despite being involved in the Indian Premier League with Royal Challengers Bangalore, the 33-year-old claims he is arriving in England full of energy and with one thing in mind.
"I'm feeling fresh, feeling 100 per cent, and looking forward to playing this series and then the tournament," he said.
"I haven't won one of these trophies in my career, so I'm pretty desperate to win one, and we'll do anything we can to get out on top.
"We know these tournaments are very competitive – there are eight teams that want to win it and can win it. But we do think we've got a very good squad here. I've got a good feeling about this one."