AB: Aussies and Kiwis are real threats

South Africa ODI captain AB de Villiers felt the tour to the Antipodes this month and next would be a challenging one, and said Australia and New Zealand were two of the biggest threats at the World Cup.

Given the event will be played Down Under, De Villiers is looking to use the trip to gain as much experience there as possible, and feels that the Aussies will want revenge for the recent tri-series loss in Zimbabwe.

He also said that the Black Caps were the ‘dark horses’ for a reason, and that they could beat any side on the day. The Proteas have a habit of losing to the Kiwis in major tournaments too.

De Villiers said: “The most important thing is to get a bit of confidence over there against two teams I see as a threat in the World Cup.

“Mentally and physically, it will be a really good way for us to get on top of them before the World Cup starts.

“We can definitely win the series. We have got a bit of an edge over them. We played better cricket in Zimbabwe and that’s why we beat them. We know there’s no need to stand back for them.

“I don’t think New Zealand are a bits-and-pieces team anymore. They are too competitive and too good a team to be labelled as that. We know the kind of threats they bring to the party.”

He added: “They [Australia] are very hungry, especially against us after we beat them in Zimbabwe. They will want to give us a bit of a pay back.

“That will be a great challenge and so will the home crowds. We are a bit inexperienced when it comes to big crowds. They get quite involved so it will be good to be tested against that.”

One thing De Villiers pointed out that needed improving was the fielding, which was surprising given the Proteas’ reputation in that regard. But De Villiers felt they had to get better if they wanted to win the title.

He said: “We had a few meetings in Zimbabwe about fielding and we talked about it at length. It’s not about the basics – it’s about turning games around and doing special stuff that I see other teams do.

“I don’t believe we are in the top two fielding teams in the world and you need that at a World Cup.”