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I feel there is good energy in the side: AB de Villiers

South Africa skipper says his team is in the "big tournament" now and has no room for error

I feel there is good energy in the side: AB de Villiers - Cricket News
South Africa cricket captain AB de Villiers talks to the media during an ICC Champions Trophy press conference.
Have you any news on Dale yet?
Yeah, it's obviously not looking good, but we'll just reassess tonight and tomorrow morning and make a final call on that. It's sort of touch‑and‑go, but it is, obviously, an issue and something we'll have to look at. There are a few more games coming up. It's not the one and only game so we wouldn't like to get him out of the rest of the tournament.  

Bowlers might play a really more important role; what is the reaction of your bowlers after the practice and the conditions here?
I don't think we were going to look into it too much. It's a matter of really assessing it as we can. We all know in England the new ball is important, the first 10 overs to try and get wickets, which has happened here in the last few weeks or so. Looking at the stats as well, all of the short division games, the local games, they get a lot of wickets in the first 10, 20‑overs. So we'll be trying to target that, but we're not going to complicate things. We'll try to keep it simple, and just to seize on the day tomorrow. We'll try to assess as quickly as possible what lines and lengths are working for us, and we'll have definitely an attacking mindset of picking up wickets early on.

You would have seen India or heard of India's result yesterday and obviously they did quite well. What are your thoughts on that compared to your preparation going into this game?
I think they're probably a team that's adapted better to the conditions. Both teams (Australia and India) were in trouble early on, and they just had that skill to adapt and to assess conditions earlier. I think Australia were under quite a bit of pressure to score at more than six runs an over from the start. And they probably didn't respect the new ball enough in the first 10 or 15 overs.

I didn't see the game at all. All we got were the scores, but I saw both teams as being under pressure early on and India adapting a bit quicker. So, obviously, we'll put a bit of emphasis on the first 15 overs of the game. With the bat in hand, and try and fit the foundation and let the ball be very attacking.

Just carrying on from that, will you reassess the batting lineup in anyway? Because a couple of teams have looked at maybe putting an experienced batsman slightly lower down in the order because wickets have tended to fall in bunches in the top ten or in the first ten only? 
Yeah, we've got a very experienced middle order and in any way, 4, 5, 6, 7, they're very dangerous in form and experienced players, and myself, de Plessis and JP, and then we'll have a youngster probably at seven, depending on what team we're looking to pick tomorrow.

But there is enough experience. I don't think batting at four is too high up for me. Obviously, you can't get a guy like Hash down in the order and the other guys who are all specialists and opening batsmen, and haven't batted lower than three ever before. So you can't move any of them down. But 4, 5, 6, and whoever comes in at 7, it's a set team, and we're very, very happy with the combination there.  

The game against Pakistan at The Oval, was there a possibility that everybody was a little bit too high after the five days in the Netherlands and maybe over-confident? I meant emotionally in a very positive, maybe over‑positive frame of mind? 
There is no reason whatsoever to be over-positive coming into England. We haven't spent a lot of time yet as yet. The Netherlands game was just for team bowling, getting mentally in a good space, but tougher than anything else, not really high or positive.

We come here as a tough team. Mentally we feel ready and we feel strong. I think the other thing that is very good is to have walked into a very good Pakistan team on a week and we did a bit in the morning and all of the bowlers had a nice work through. It was really good.

Not a bad thing to lose those warm‑up games. It's a bit of a wake‑up call for you all of us to remind us that this is the time to go. We're in the big tournament now, no more room for error. But having said that, we got out of it what we wanted. So I was very pleased with that.  

This is the first game in Cardiff, first Champions Trophy game in Cardiff; this game in Wales. What do you make of this venue? And given the number of Indian supporters expected here tomorrow, do you expect it to seem like a neutral ground?
Yeah, I love this ground. I've played here before, and I like the setting and I like just the feel of the ground. It's always a good atmosphere with the crowd, and probably will be, like you said, a neutral ground. There might be a few more Indian supporters here, but I'm sure the South Africans will come out, and back home we'll have a lot of people supporting us and watching us.

So it will still be a neutral ground. There won't be any excuses before or after the game about the conditions or the crowd or anything like that. We're here to win, and we're just going to focus on our basics and do them really well and try to be sharper than the opposing team. Obviously adapting quicker than the opposing team is very important in these conditions, and we'll really be focusing on that.

The news of Quinton de Kock joining the squad and the news people have of your injury problems in the past will lead them to ask whether you're okay? If you are okay, why is Quinton here in Cardiff?
Quinton is here if something happens in a game. If I get injured tomorrow, we're going to need a wicketkeeper. Yeah, he's a young guy. It would be a bit unfair for a guy like him to fly in the night before a game against Pakistan, for instance, so he's joining the squad and getting a nice feel for the boys, joining in the net sessions and having a hit. So, whenever something does happen to me, he'll be ready. I'm a hundred percent. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me.

When this tournament started in 1998, South Africa won it, and Kallis played a great role. Now in this group, there are three Champions, yourself, West Indies and India. Do you think this is a group of depth, and what will be your target in the last edition of the Champions Trophy? 
It's a very tough group; there is no doubt about it. I missed your second question.

I said there are three Champions in this group. 

Yourself, South Africa, and when it started in 1998, South Africa won it and Kallis played a massive role. There is no Kallis, there is no Smith, you have a new team. This is the last edition of the tournament. So what is the mental frame? 
Yes, like I said, it's a very tough group and we know that we are up against really good opposition. All of the groups are really, really good teams. There is no room to hide in these kind of tournaments. We've experienced that before. The team that won it in 1998 was a very good ODI team and we'd obviously like to repeat that.

We don't have the likes of Kallis or Smith here, but I feel there is a very good energy on the site. Like I've mentioned before in a few interviews, I try to look on the positive side of things and look at things like our energy. And the movement that we'll have in the field, for instance, will be a big plus for us.

There is enough experience, I believe, in a guy like Dale or Morne, myself, Hashim, we've all played a lot of cricket and, like I said, there is no room to hide in these tournaments, and we'll be using that kind of experience and our energy that we have on our team to get out there and win one game at a time and hopefully take the trophy back home.

Just in terms of playing, you play against these guys (India players) on a weekly basis (in IPL). Does that help in terms of playing against a side who you know who you are? 
It helps to know they're a very dangerous side. I've spent a lot of time with some of the individuals on the team and they're all wonderful players. We're going to have to beat them playing together as 11 guys. That is the only way to beat a talented side like them. We'll have to come out like a pack of wolves tomorrow and really try towards one goal and that is to win the game.

It definitely helps strategy‑wise to have played with a few guys in the past, and we get a lot of the information from the other guys that played with them on other teams as well. I don't think there are any ups or downs for both teams. We all know our games, we know the individuals, we know what everyone's capable of. It's a matter of playing together as a team tomorrow and the best team will come out on top.

You said as a bowling attack you'll go out and attack. Is there any plan, considering players like Suresh Raina and a few other youngsters are not good against bouncers, is there any plan to bowl short and faster or any bouncer plans? 
There are specific plans to play against every player on the Indian team tomorrow for batting and bowling. So we're just going to follow those game plans and try to expose them wherever we can. We know the first 10 or 15‑overs will be very important. Even if we don't get our wickets, we've still got plans in place.  And all of us know it's important to get wickets against their batting lineup, and we'll have an attacking them mindset right throughout the game.

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