AB looks to T20 to make right with SA
AB de Villiers can’t wait for the T20 International Series against England, which kicks off at a sweltering Southampton tonight, to start.
The Proteas have had more than a week to deal with being dumped out of the Champions Trophy, and the stand-in T20 skipper is also done with looking back and unpacking what is already done.
“I’m excited to play in the three T20’s. It was a tough few days after being knocked out of the Champions Trophy; going through the phase of reflecting, hearing the criticism, which is never easy,” he admitted.
De Villiers added that he and the squad remain upbeat on what has been a tough trip to the UK so far.
“I have always been the person to try and see the positive and the opportunity to improve, and these three matches give me that opportunity as a player and as captain of the team.”
With a Test series in mind, South Africa have a team that has one eye on the future, and another on trying to get some momentum going on this nearly three-month stay in the UK.
While the likes of Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy and Test captain Faf du
Plessis are having an extra week at home, De Villiers did quip that there was a Test star who was floating about in the team.
“Kagiso is also hanging. I think he just likes it here in England,” the star batsman said of the spearhead.
However big the disappointment was in the Champions Trophy, De Villiers and Co seem to have dealt with it and moved onto the next assignment. Having new faces in the squad helps with that, too.
“It’s great to work with some of the new players, it has always been one of my dreams to give back what I have learnt over the years. I’m getting that opportunity now with some of the youngsters in the team, and it’s great to see the talent coming through,” a cheerful De Villiers enthused.
The likes of Mangaliso Mosehle, Andile Phehlukwayo, Reeza Hendricks and Tabraiz Shamsi are all keen to make an impression, and the T20 format now has an extra dimension to it for South African players.
More than just doing well for your country, a strong showing in the next three matches could swell bank balances when the T20 Global League player draft comes along in August. Any player with ambitions to play a part in that, will already know that there will be an eye out for special performances, so there is no lack of motivation around the team.
De Villiers and the other marquee players made the trip up from Southampton on Monday, and they were all excited about the new era that the Global League will usher in.
“It’s important for the ICC and the franchise tournaments going on to get the right balance in the future, for all players to feel they know where they are going with their careers,” De Villiers warned.
“Franchise cricket played a huge role in my career; the IPL changed my
life completely. It upped my skills as a player, as a youngster I got
to know different conditions, and played with some of my heroes,” he explained.
The T20 Global League can have that impact for other South African players now, and it can also give some of the financial rewards that they may have thought were beyond them without the IPL.
“To have the T20 Global League in South Africa is an unbelievable opportunity for some of the young talent to play with some of the best players in the world at a high level of cricket. It’s great for our cricket, I’m excited for the tournament,” De Villiers added.
It is an exciting time, and they will look to take that excitement into the Rose Bowl tomorrow evening.