AB will not use transition as excuse
PROTEAS one-day captain AB de Villiers refuses to accept that his team is "in transition" - preferring to label it as "new" and under a "new captain".
"I would never use 'transition' as an excuse if things don't go well," he said. "We have some new faces there, but there is a lot of experience too." That includes the world's best one-day bowler, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, backed up by world No4, Morne Morkel.
He accepts that, after just eight matches in charge since taking over from Graeme Smith after the World Cup last year, he is still learning and has been focusing on "communication" with his players.
"It is not always easy communicating with the bowlers from behind the wicket, so they have got to know what our plans are and what I want. The match can turn on just a couple of balls, so we have got to be clear about our aims."
De Villiers insists that the No1 status, which his team will take if they win this series by any margin, is not on the agenda.
"Our focus, really, is to win this match, so that we can get off to a good start and get some momentum. Maybe, after we have won a couple we can start thinking about that, but if we lose one, we will be on the back foot."
It is a sentiment echoed by England captain Alastair Cook, who says England have put the tests behind them and are concentrating on their long-term plan: winning the World Cup in 2015.
"We are only a quarter of the way there, but we've had a good year, so we are encouraged," he said.
England have certainly shown their power in the short game. They have won 10 in a row and obliterated Australia, the team that was expected to test them, 4-0. Using their formula of six specialist batsmen and five specialist bowlers, Australia had no answers.
So successful were England that they never had to use their number seven batsman and used number six only sparingly.
The last time South Africa toured England after a successful test series they lost the one-dayers 4-0, but De Villiers is quick to point out, "this is a new unit, and there are not so many test players who had a long tour. We feel fresh and energised".