De Villiers moves on from Smith, Kallis days

Captain AB de Villiers has insisted South Africa will succeed in this month’s three-ODI series against New Zealand, despite the absence of the veteran Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis.

Kallis was key to the Proteas’ series victory in New Zealand last year, while Smith played a pivotal role in the 2004 series. Both, however, have since retired from international cricket.

“They’ll always be remembered in South Africa for what they have achieved as players and as leaders. But we’ve moved on from that now and we had no choice,” said de Villiers.

“The guys that came in have brought a different set of skills and different personalities. More than ever in Zimbabwe I felt the boys right behind me so that’s a good sign heading into the World Cup.”

This tour will serve the South African’s preparations for the 2015 World Cup, which will be played in Australia and New Zealand. They have been pooled with Zimbabwe, India, West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates for next year’s limited-overs showpiece.

“There’s no perfect cricket team in the world. We’ll work in the next month or two to start doing some really special stuff in the field,” added de Villiers.

“We have had a few meetings about giving all the players enough rest both mentally and physically. The management team looks after the players really well, which has allowed them to be able to give their best in each match that they play.

“We know that’s its valuable to get confidence going into the World Cup and to get everyone into good form. You can’t play around 60 or 70 percent waiting for the World Cup to come, there is no space for that.”