AB featured in this month’s SA Cricket magazine

Category : News, Photo

Source: SA Cricket on Facebook – August 29, 2011

AB thrilled with ICC accolade

Category : News

AB de Villiers has expressed delight at being included in the ICC Test team of the year along with three other Proteas.

Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn have been named in the 2011 ICC test Team of Year. This is Steyn’s fourth successive year in the team, while Amla and Kallis make an appearance for the second consecutive year. De Villiers broke the record for the highest South Africa test score with his unbeaten 278 in Abu Dhabi and is delighted with his inclusion.

“It’s an honour and a privilege, but more importantly it means a lot to be included in a team with so many talented and respected cricketers,” said de Villiers. “This past season was very special for me, especially my record-breaking score against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. The Proteas have a group of world-class cricketers that continue to produce outstanding performances and this is also just reward for them.”

The Chairman of the LG ICC Awards selection panel, Clive Lloyd, said: “The selection was a difficult process with so many outstanding performances available to look back on. All the top performers during the voting period were discussed at length and various combinations were considered.

“While selecting the squad, the selectors didn’t rely only on statistics only but took into account all other factors like the opposition, pitch conditions, match situation etc. But when you have only 12 places to fill from a big group of world-class players, there will always be a few who will miss out.

“In the panel’s expert opinion, it has selected the best team based on performances over the past 12 months.”

In another boost for the Proteas, three players made the final shortlist of nominations for their respective ICC Awards.

Kallis is nominated in the final shortlist for the ICC test Cricketer of the Year and the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award, this for walking on two occasions during the ICC World Cup after clarifying with the opposition fielder if they had caught the ball cleanly.

Hashim Amla’s pursuit of accolades continued with his nomination for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC ODI Player of the Year. He is nominated together with Alistair Cook, Sachin Tendulkar and Jonathan Trott for the former award.

JP Duminy’s 96 not out against Zimbabwe in Kimberley has earned him a nomination for the ICC T20 International Performance of the Year. This is the highest score for South Africa in International T20’s and was a special knock for Duminy.

“It was definitely one of the better T20 knocks of my career and one that I would like to better in the seasons to come,” said Duminy.

Source: Sport24.co.za – August 26, 2011

World recognition for Proteas

Category : News

Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn have been named in the 2011 ICC Test Team of the Year.

This is Steyn’s fourth successive year in the team, while Amla and Kallis make an appearance for the second consecutive year.

De Villiers broke the record for the highest individual score by a South African in tests, with his unbeaten 278 in Abu Dhabi and is delighted with his “maiden” inclusion.

“It’s an honour and a privilege, but more importantly it means a lot to be included in a team with so many talented and respected cricketers,” said de Villiers.

“This past season was very special for me, especially my record-breaking score against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. The Proteas have a group of world-class cricketers that continue to produce outstanding performances and this is also just reward for them.”

The Chairman of the LG ICC Awards selection panel, Clive Lloyd, said: “The selection was a difficult process with so many outstanding performances available to look back on. All the top performers during the voting period were discussed at length and various combinations were considered.

“While selecting the squad, the selectors didn’t rely only on statistics but took into account all other factors like the opposition, pitch conditions, match situation etc. But when you have only 12 places to fill from a big group of world-class players, there will always be a few who will miss out.

“In the panel’s expert opinion, it has selected the best team based on performances over the past 12 months.”

Source: SuperSport – August 26, 2011

ODI skipper AB ‘crapping himself’

Category : News

Newly appointed Proteas ODI captain AB de Villiers says he’s not what kind of captain he’ll make.

While Gary Kirsten’s appointment as national coach surprised no one, the same cannot be said about the choice of AB de Villiers as South Africa’s limited overs captain.

Superb batsmen, electrifying fielder (both with and without the gloves) dynamic cheerleader, so-so singer, but captain? Sure there’d been whispers in team circles in recent years about a successor to Graeme Smith, and De Villiers’ name was among them. However, it was no more than a courtesy nomination – he was young, his place in the side was cemented, why not put his name down – seemed to be the reasoning of those who’d put him forward as a future national captain.

With two World Cups under his belt, over 119 ODI caps and more than 4 500 runs to his name, he has experience. However, when Smith had previously been unable to captain to the ODI side, leadership usually fell to Johan Botha or Jacques Kallis.

However, with Smith standing down as one-day captain after the World Cup, the time to make a move had come and certainly Cricket South Africa appeared flustered when it came to making the appointment of his replacement, leaving it mostly to Kirsten to decide.

De Villiers admitted Friday he was “crapping” himself at the prospect of skippering the team this summer. “I haven’t captained a lot, I last captained in high school so the experience isn’t there,” De Villiers remarked. “You can’t say what kind of captain I’m going to be, I don’t even know that myself. One thing I know is I’ll make mistakes. But I must be open and honest when I make them and learn from them.

“I’ve always been a massive believer in team play and team spirit so that is something I will concentrate on, to get that ‘never-say-die’ attitude going.”

Honesty and openness have perhaps been missing from the South African team when they have gone into World Cups or knockout matches at the major ICC tournaments. De Villiers’s frank description of his feelings ahead of the season should be welcomed. Besides improving his golf swing during the lengthy break the national players have had this winter, he’s also consulted outside of cricket circles about leadership most notably with former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar.

“He’s shared a few tips, we’ve talked about the importance of leading by example. That’s definitely something I want to do, you’ve got to play well and win games from nowhere and the rest of the boys will follow. I know that because I’ve seen Graeme do that. I’ve taken confidence from things he’s done, believing that nothing is impossible.”

Understandably De Villiers will look to Smith, Kirsten and the other senior players for assistance, certainly initially as he seeks to become more comfortable as captain and attempts to adopt a style of leadership. “We didn’t lose the quarter-finals of the World Cup because we’re a bad cricket side; it’s because the big players didn’t stand up when it mattered most and I include myself in that. It’s in those big moments where World Cups are won and it’s where your best players must stand up and that’s one thing I’ll be pushing to get the best out of the senior players.”

One contentious decision De Villiers wants made soon concerns his future as the one-day team’s wicketkeeper – he’d like the matter sorted by the end of the camp Kirsten has planned for Arabella starting on August 29.

“My gut feel is not to take the gloves. I’ll be a better captain for the side, which is more important than being a ’keeper,” he stated. “There are positives on both sides and negatives; it puts the balance of the side out of sync. Of course it will open up a spot if I take the gloves knowing that I’m a top order batsmen. We have to make a calculated decision between the selectors and the management team.”

Source: IOL.co.za – August 21, 2011 / STUART HESS

Smith focussing on ODI batting revival

Category : News

Graeme Smith, South Africa’s Test captain, has decided what he wants to be when he grows up. A good friend (especially to AB de Villiers), a loving husband and a batsman. More specifically, a one-day batsman.

“If I look at the record I have built up over the years, I am proud of it, but there is still a lot more to do,” Smith told ESPNcricinfo in Johannesburg, where he was attending a CSA sponsorship announcement. “The injuries that I’ve had have mostly affected the ODI format so I am focussing on that.”

Since 2008, Smith has had six hand-related injuries, battling tennis elbow and an array of broken bones. Those ailments have kept him out of a significant number of one-day matches in recent times. In the first six years of his career, Smith played an average of 20.8 ODIs a year. That number has reduced to 11.75 over the last four years, including this one.

In some ways, the most remarkable thing about that statistic is that Smith has been playing international cricket for a decade, eight years of which he has spent as captain. It’s a length of time that justifies thoughts of reinvention, something that Smith has been working on. He stepped down as Twenty20 captain in August last year and relinquished the one-day leadership after the 2011 World Cup, to give him more time to focus on batting.

“Injuries, combined with the pressures of captaincy, may have inhibited my batting,” he said. “At the moment I am just concentrating on getting some confidence back. I know that I’ve never been the most elegant batter, but I’ve always had self-belief. I need to build up some confidence.”

With his place in the ODI side no longer secure, Smith’s form in the shorter version of the game is under scrutiny and recent performances are not in his favour. His average of 28.25 in 2011 is a big step-down from his career average of 39.25, and is at its lowest since 2006. He has not scored an ODI century since 2009, when he made 141 in a losing cause against England during the Champions Trophy. He was also not able to clock up a half-century at the World Cup and his failure to return home with the rest of the squad at the end of March saw him heavily criticised by the South African public. He has since had a knee operation and has only been able to train for the past three weeks.

“The World Cup was one of the darkest places I have been in my career,” he said. “I’ve had some time to press the reset button and I’m looking forward to the new season.” It will be a season of change, and freedom, for Smith, who will no longer feel the weight of the captain’s armband. “After being captain in all three formats, I can now focus on myself. It’s going to be a big season for me.”

With expectation of a different sort hanging over him, Smith believes that in former opening batting partner, Gary Kirsten he will have an ideal mentor and challenger. “When we played together Gary and I had a deal that whoever scored more runs in the season would take the other one out for dinner. I always ended up paying for dinner,” he said jokingly. Kirsten can’t make deals like that anymore but he will “bring a lot of common sense to the side and will bring the best out of players”.

Having basically grown up being the captain gave Smith the space to mature and develop while leading, an opportunity not a lot of people get. “When I started in the job, I was 22, and I didn’t have the experience in terms of relationships. I learnt how to allow each guy the space to grow and feel comfortable, and it helped having good guys around.”

Now, Smith has to be that good guy, the one who will provide de Villiers with advice when needed and then back off at the right time. “I will always been an ally for him, but it’s important that he forges his own way,” Smith said. He believes that zoning in on his own game will allow de Villiers to have the space he needs to build a team that will have this ethos and that Smith will be able to fit into that as someone who will “score lots of runs,” for de Villiers.

Smith remains South Africa’s Test captain and the coming series against Australia and Sri Lanka are foremost in his mind, as South Africa aim to challenge England for the No.1 ranking. “I see it as a season filled with prospects, in some ways similar to the 2008-09 season.” South Africa beat Australia in Australia for the first time then, getting one over the No.1 team in the world, although their ranking did not change. The over-riding image of that tour was Smith walking out to bat with a broken hand. Smith the batsman, the same one he wants to become now.

Source: ESPN CricInfo – August 19, 2011 / FIRDOSE MOONDA