South Africa the opposite of chokers, says AB

2011-02-11 14:30

Chennai, India – Star Proteas batsman and wicketkeeper AB de Villiers says South Africa aren’t chokers any more.

The Proteas, featuring world one-day international player of the year De Villiers, head into the Cricket World Cup starting next week still seeking their first title after floundering in previous tournaments.

Confidence was high again thanks to 3-2 victories each against India and Pakistan, although both recent ODI series were not on the subcontinent.

“We’ve shown recently that we can play in big situations and under pressure,” De Villiers said today.

“We are not focusing on what happened in the past. We have a different look now. In recent times we have been the opposite of chokers. ICC tournaments are different, there is pressure in the knockouts but we will be ready for it.”

De Villiers said the Proteas were well enough prepared to handle any team in any pressure situation.

“We have more than enough flair,” he said. “I don’t want us to be the unpredictable side of the tournament and I think we are at the level where we can read situations and adapt.”

The aggressive middle-order batsman will also have to adapt as he doubles as the wicketkeeper for the first time in a major tournament.

The exclusion of Mark Boucher put the burden of glovework on De Villiers, who will have his hands full keeping wicket on the subcontinent’s spin-friendly pitches, where the bounce was inconsistent and balls keep low.

“It will be physically challenging for me, but it is for the team and I have been preparing well,” De Villiers said.

“It is going to be tough for all the ’keepers. I’ve seen local ’keepers commit mistakes, too. We just have to remember that when we let through a bye, it’s not the end of the world.”

South Africa’s main spin options were Robin Peterson, another veteran of the 2007 World Cup squad, Johan Botha, and new Pakistan-born legspinner Imran Tahir, to whom De Villiers has never backed up.

“We’ve brought the most spinners we’ve ever had in a squad and I think we will achieve a lot,” De Villiers said.

Fast bowlers Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe said they still expect to do well, but both agreed the spinners will play a big role.

They add a new dimension to our bowling,” Morkel said.

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