Johannesburg: AB de Villiers, South Africa’s ODI captain, is targeting an ODI series win in England this summer to atone for the visitors’ 4-0 whitewash the last time they toured the country in 2008. South Africa were successful in winning the Test series 2-1 four years ago – their first in England since 1965 – but were subsequently drubbed 4-0 in the ODIs and de Villiers was determined to avoid a repeat.
England will host South Africa for a full tour in July-August and while plenty of focus has centered around the battle for the No. 1 Test team tag – England are currently holders but South Africa can usurp them with a series victory – de Villiers felt the ODI leg of that tour should not be underestimated.
"The last time we lost 4-0 which left a bad taste in my mouth, so we have a lot to prove. That was the big negative from that tour, that we relaxed after the test series win. But I won't allow the boys to relax,” he told SuperSport. “There's a new feeling in the team, a lot of young guys are coming through. There's a lot of hunger and pride around and we want to start well and play consistently throughout the tour.”
The 28-year-old captained South Africa to a series win in New Zealand before the IPL – an achievement that made him “massively proud” - and was confident in his role as 50-over leader. "I was feeling quite comfortable with it in New Zealand and I got a good feel for the job. I wasn't perfect but I learnt a lot and there's still a bit to learn. Mostly about man-management and handling the various personalities,” he said.
"It's a lot easier on tour because things are more settled and structured. You have more control of the guys and the mood because everyone's on the same bus and nobody's staying at home. It's all about keeping the guys in a hungry state, just a couple of words at the right time can switch them on again, and leading by example as well of course.”