AB un­fazed by threat of Pak­istan spin­ners

‘It’s ba­si­cally fo­cussing on the ball you’re deal­ing with... the past is the past it has scars, the fu­ture is be­yond our control’

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - LUN­GANI ZAMA

AB DE VIL­LIERS was in bristling form at the pre-match press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, as his team looked to Pak­istan, in their sec­ond Group B match at the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy at Edg­bas­ton.

The first ques­tion wouldn’t have helped im­prove his mood, as a Pak­istani scribe sug­gested that South Africa may have dif­fi­cul­ties against a quar­tet of spin­ners.

“Two of them are part-time spin­ners,” De Vil­liers, smote.

The big mantra in the South African sheds at the moment is, fun­nily enough, “stay­ing in the moment”.

They have all men­tioned it in re­cent weeks, but De Vil­liers was not about to agree that it was an ac­tual team motto. That would be to pro­vide am­mu­ni­tion, on top of the “can’t play qual­ity spin, can’t han­dle pres­sure” the­o­ries that are al­ready out there.

“It’s ba­si­cally fo­cussing on the ball you’re deal­ing with. The past is the past, and it has scars. The fu­ture is be­yond our control,” he added sagely.

“Ev­ery ball is an op­por­tu­nity to in­flu­ence the game.”

On pres­sure, De Vil­liers said there was none on his team to prove any­thing.

“There is no pres­sure. The last time we played them (Pak­istan) in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, we got the bet­ter of them. At the same ground,” he ob­served of the 67-run win back in 2013.

But, back in the present moment, South Africa are look­ing to trans­fer the pres­sure onto a Pak­istan team that looks three eggs short of an omelette.

They were ap­palling in the field against In­dia, which would have hurt them a lot more than they let on.

One scribe from the na­tion of the lone star ob­served that they were all thrilled that seamer Wa­hab Riaz had crum­pled over in a heap, hav­ing re­turned 0/87, from 8.4 overs.

“Good rid­dance. He showed no dis­ci­pline at all. Bet­ter he go home,” the gent said. It is a team in re­build mode, but they do have Mickey Arthur in their cor­ner, and he knows a bit about the Proteas.

“They are com­pletely dif­fer­ent, but both are good men,” De Vil­liers opined, when asked to com­pare styles be­tween his for­mer na­tional coach, and Rus­sell Domingo.

“Jeez, Mickey was a long time ago ... I can’t re­ally re­mem­ber.

“We are with a great coach at the moment, and we all get along with him, and love him.”

Would the team like to see Domingo stay be­yond Septem­ber?

“Def­i­nitely,” said.

Sud­denly, the clouds parted, and the cap­tain had a sunny dis­po­si­tion, shar­ing his joy at De Vil­liers re­flect­ing on the skill of the peer­less Wasim Akram, and then wax­ing lyri­cal about his own team, which should re­main un­changed.

“We’ve got a few sur­prises in our team. In fact, all 15 who are here fit into this puz­zle of ours. All 15 have the po­ten­tial to win games for us,” he pointed out. “Some more than oth­ers.” It was an in­ter­est­ing seven min­utes, re­veal­ing in its own way.

He who stays in the moment long­est, may well ad­vance fur­thest in this com­pe­ti­tion.

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