South African skipper ABD sets sights firmly on Champions Trophy
AB De Villiers believes 2017 is the year for South Africa to win the Champions Trophy
What’s the story?
After his return from injury, South African skipper AB De Villiers believes the next target for the team is to exorcise the demons of all the failures in international tournaments and win the Champions Trophy in England later this year.
In New Zealand for a long series, he remarked that the belief in the side is at an all-time high and they are in a good mental space leading up to the tournament in June.
Speaking to EspnCricinfo, he said, “The belief in the squad is as high as I've ever experienced it," he said. "There's a great respect among the players and a sense of direction. It's as simple as that. It's definitely a build-up towards the Champions Trophy, it's a big goal of ours to go there and win that tournament, we know there's a long way to go but this is a great stepping stone."
South Africa are in New Zealand for a long series comprising of 1 T20I, 5 ODIs and 3 Tests as their last assignment before the Champions Trophy in England in June. In the only T20I, they comfortably overwhelmed the hosts, beating them by 78 runs.
AB De Villiers returned to competitive cricket in the ODIs against Sri Lanka recently but stepped down as the Test skipper owing to his constant injury trouble.
The South African cricket team is undoubtedly one of the strongest teams on paper leading up to the Champions Trophy. The trouble is that their team is often one of the strongest and most favoured, yet they have failed to register a win in major international tournaments.
They came awfully close at the 2015 World Cup, when they lost the semis to New Zealand. The Eden Park was the setting for the T20I against the Kiwis recently and the South African team spent a little time on the pitch after the win to completely exorcise the demons that remain in the mind from that defeat.
AB De Villiers believes that the current series is ideal preparation for the Champions Trophy as the conditions in New Zealand are pretty similar to England.
The South African team are due a win in one of the major international tournaments and 2017 could very easily be their year. The team checks all the boxes, with dominant openers, a reliable middle order, big-hitting all-rounders, terrific pacers and spin bowling options as well.
Their recent form in ODI cricket has been absolutely terrific and a win against the Kiwis would indeed be ideal preparation.