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The interview

lifestyle 28-37

business 38-43

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19

o captain, my captain

AB aims to be a big hit

How does it feel to start your tenure with a win?

It is a great start although a 4-1 win would have been even better. I thought we played good cricket. I’m really proud of the way the boys applied themselves but I know this is only the beginning. It will get tougher so we’re definitely keeping our feet on the ground. There are challenges to come but plenty to look forward to.

What are you expecting from the Kiwis in your upcoming New Zealand tour? New Zealand is a tough and challenging unit, especially when they are at home. We expect them to come out fighting.

We have a relatively new coach in Gary Kirsten and now you’re the new ODI captain. That’s a lot of changes. What does this mean for SA cricket? SA cricket is moving in an incredibly special direction. Not much has changed in terms of the players but I think we can instil a fresh mindset that can make us a dominating force in world cricket.

In what way is Gary different to the other coaches you’ve worked with in your career? Gary is a very calm coach and very process-driven. It has been great

AB de Villiers, South Africa’s new ODI captain, has great aspirations for the Proteas. working with him. It makes a difference because he has been through what we are going through as international cricketers and he has given the players more responsibility and the freedom to express themselves.

Your team has tough tours to Australia and England later this year. Are you confident you’ll do well?

This year is going to be a very challenging and busy year for us. The most important aspect for the squad is to take it one game at a time, one tour at a time. For now the challenge is New Zealand and we are preparing as well as we can for that.

What do you aim to do differently as the new ODI captain?

I’d like to lead by example on and off the field. I want us to sacrifice whatever needs to be sacrificed for the team. I believe a player learns and matures a lot quicker and better if you give him the wings to fly so I’m not going to be scared to put some of the young guys under pressure in the big moments. Moving forward, we’ll need mentally tough guys when the game is on the line and that’s the only way to prepare the boys for those situations.

What is the biggest achievement you’re hoping to secure?

Our long-term goals include being No 1 in the world in all formats but winning an ICC trophy or the World Cup is also high up on our list.

The media and the public can be incredibly hard on the Proteas when things aren’t going well. Does that bother you?

We are focused on playing quality cricket at all times. There is not much we can do about what is said on the “outside”. All we can do is focus on our own game.

How do you cope with the stress that comes with your job?

It’s definitely not an easy job but it’s a challenge that I’m loving. I’ll have to work on it and develop where I can. The most important thing will be to learn from my mistakes and not to put too much pressure on myself. I have a lot of support both on and off the field so that helps a lot.

SA’s new ODI cricket captain

ABRAHAM Benjamin (AB) de Villiers was born in Pretoria in 1984 and matriculated at the Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool in 2002. Apart from being being singled out as a talented cricket player at an early age, De Villiers also excelled at golf,

tennis and rugby (he played at fly-half for his school’s revered first team). De Villiers made his debut for the national cricket team in 2004 and became captain of South Africa’s ODI team, taking over from Graeme Smith, in 2012.

A good support system is important to AB de Villiers, on and off the pitch. He’s pictured here with his mother, Millie.

PICTURES: Gallo ImaGES/GETTy ImaGES, Gallo ImaGES/RaPPoRT/BREndan CRofT

aB de Villiers celebrated his new position as captain of South africa’s one day International (odI) team with a series win against Sri lanka. now the Sa cricketer, who celebrated his 28th birthday this month, is in new Zealand to secure success abroad for the first time. PIETER-loUIS myBURGH spoke to him


Interview with AB de Villiers