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Cricket | South Africa

AB de Villiers © Gallo Images

AB answers our questions

Neil Manthorp sat down with AB de Villiers on Friday, after the Proteas' disappointing loss against India in the Champions Trophy in Cardiff the previous day.

Q: Do you think the Cardiff weather bowled you a googly? At the toss it was cloudy and cold, and when play started the sun was out…
AB: That’s not the reason I bowled first. We just had a look at the stats and the past scores and stuff like that, whether it was cloudy or not we still would have bowled first. I was expecting a little bit more from the wicket and a bit more movement up front, which we didn't get.

Then again losing Morne Morkel in the middle overs was quite a big shock, but the way the boys shot back right to the 50 overs was a great effort. I thought we restricted them to a chaseable score, and unfortunately, we just couldn't get there.

Q: Do you think the short ball was over-used, especially early on?
AB: I don't think so. Against the sub continent teams I told someone in one of the previous interviews that I still prefer some of the batters in the sub continent teams to rather hit us off our lengths, instead of hitting it on the ground and missing a length on the fielder side. I don't mind that especially in the English conditions.

You can argue that, but still we'll go back to the drawing board and reassess where we went wrong, but I don't mind the guys having an aggressive mindset. I'm very proud of the way we fought back. We got five wickets in a very short period of time in the middle overs. .

Q: There were times in your innings when you could and maybe should have won?
AB: Yes, that is the reason I'm hurting, and that's why I'm quite disappointed with what happened here today. After being down and out in the first 50 overs, behind the eight ball, to restrict them to 330 was first of all a great effort, and then to get ourselves into a winning position was even better.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of run outs, unforced errors, but I take a lot of positives out of this game. I'm not going to sulk too much. We'll try to learn from our mistakes, and we've got a massive game against Pakistan. We've played them a lot in the recent past, and we know the areas we're going to attack.

Q: Can you explain the unforced errors?
AB: The couple of run outs were probably unforced and due to miscommunication. In the heat of battle sometimes you're so eager to do well for your team and you're just not always on the same wavelength as your partner at the other end. Unfortunately, there were a couple of misunderstandings out there which cost us dearly today, unfortunately.

Q: You spoke about the aggressive attitude of your fast bowlers early on but you were aggressive with the bat, too.
AB: I thought they (Indian seamers) didn't bowl too badly. We got off to a flier of a start. I thought we had the upper hand then. It's difficult to give a lot of credit when you're playing better than the opposition. I think we had 77 in the first 10 overs, so we played quite well. But still I've seen a lot of them in the recent past, in the IPL, I've seen them bowling really well. There is a lot of talent in the Indian seam bowling attack.

Q: How concerned are you without Steyn and Morkel? Your bowling is looking a bit lightweight.
AB: It will be a big loss not to have them here. But I'm pretty sure our staff and management team will get both of them [Morkel has subsequently been ruled out of the tournament and replaced by Chris Morris] on the field and in the next game, hopefully, if not, hopefully the last game.

Q: You said that you would go after India like a pack of wolves.
AB: Yes, there was 100% of a pack of wolves out there today. Like I said before, I was very proud of the way the boys fought back, especially after losing Morkel. It was a great fight back and the energy was high right throughout.

We didn't get a lot of opportunities for run outs and things like that. But every time I connected with the team, the energy, and intent and their awareness was there. I'm very proud at the fact we kept them down to 330. It could have easily been 360 or 370, which could have taken the game out of reach for us.

Q: What was the thinking behind Colin Ingram opening instead off Alviro Petersen?
AB: Over the last few games we've watched both players closely. Colin is probably in a little bit of better form, and he showed more confidence in the last two games and in the net, so we went on that. And Colin has been in the earlier five, and I thought it was fair to keep him in the team ahead of Rory. We'll obviously reassess and have a look at the team going into the next game.

Q: Because of the format of this tournament every game is basically do or die. Do you see the Pakistan game (on Monday) as a knockout game?
AB: We were definitely trying to win today! We'll have to keep that aggressive mindset that we had today. It is basically do or die. We'd like to win at least two out of the three. When you go one out of three, net run-rate and things like that coming into play. We wouldn't like to have that. Even two out of three you might have that situation.


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